Good for you that you want to take your pets to the vet for check-ups. It’s bad for you that you can’t easily schedule pet appointments. A shortage of veterinarians and assistants– combined with the COVID-related upswing in pet ownership– are causing massive appointment backups.

There are way too many stories in the news about owners waiting weeks or sometimes months for pet appointments.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that one in five households adopted a pet during the COVID pandemic. That is a lot of doggies and kitties!!!

Scheduling Pet Appointments in Minnesota

This article relates the story of the Schmeling family’s struggle to get their pet Nova medical attention. She eventually was seen at Pet Central Animal Hospital in Minneapolis. But to get there:

“We called three other vets and a lot of them disabled their online booking systems because they’re not taking new clients,” Emily Schmeling is quoted in the article. “They were saying it was going to be mid-November before we can get her in, this was something where she had to go in this week.”

And they were lucky to get into Pet Central.

“We have grown 50% from last year in terms of number of clients,” said Kristina Biniek, Pet Central practice manager. “Insane, it’s been super busy. We see around 75 pets a day, some days are more, depending on what’s going on.”

Scheduling Appointments in New York

“I think it is a perfect storm of a lot of things coming together all at once,” said veterinarian, Dr. Mark Will in this article from New York.

The Pandemic, as stated before, forced the adoption of a lot of extra pets. It also created enhanced visitor protocols such as cleaning and distancing. These protocols slow down office visits. 

Dr. Will is president of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. He brought up another point. There is a nationwide shortage of veterinarians and technicians.

“Our profession is lower paid than other professions, both medically and for technicians. They can go onto a different field and probably make more than in this profession,” said Dr. Will.

Pet Appointments in Illinois

Add to that that there aren’t as many people graduating from vet schools as there are retiring.

As a result, that causes yet another problem to the mix. Or mess.

“We have some areas right now in Illinois that still do not have a veterinarian, and feel that our residents of the state are underserved,” Those are haunting words from Colleen Lewis in this article. She is President of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.

Too many pets and not enough vets. No wonder you can’t easily schedule pet appointments. 

What can you do? There are no simple answers.

  • Call for routine exams in advance,
  • Don’t expect same-day service,
  • Help keep hospitals and clinics available for emergency cases,
  • Treat staff with respect and patience.

(What type of content should your business website blog offer? Advice rather than product promotion. Be a valuable info resource rather than an irritating source of sales pitches. For example, if you own a pet shop or veterinary practice, then you might share this type of content. Contact me if interested.)