By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848
2021 COVID-19 Impacts
Like most businesses in 2020, the veterinary industry was affected by COVID-19. We faced many challenges, including governor’s orders to stop parts of our business, shortages of basic medical supplies and daily business decisions to keep staff safe. Nothing was really expected in 2020, including the huge increase in pet ownership and demand for veterinary care in 2020.
Here are some of the lingering items still happening:
- Carside: The veterinary industry adapted carside appointments to try to minimize COVID spread and keep staff and clients safe. It is difficult to stay six feet apart in exam rooms. Many clinics have continued this practice until their staff are able to be vaccinated.
- Appointments: The days of getting same day appointments are long gone. Wait times for many veterinary clinics are averaging 2-4 weeks or more for appointments. Many clinics are no longer seeing new clients. Emergency clinic waits are also longer than in the past.
- Prices: Supply shortages continue and the supplies that are available are costing us all more. Shortages of medications are now common as well.
What Can Pet Owners Do
- Purchase pet insurance. The cost of veterinary care is rising due to multiple factors including huge increases in medical supply costs and medication costs from manufacturers. Pet owners with pet insurance are shown to provide a more consistent, better level of care for their furry family members. Get insurance when your pet is young and before they have preexisting medical conditions. The most common pet insurance is nationwide www.petinsurance.com
- Schedule in advance for any wellcare as booking out 2-4 weeks for wellness appointments is the new normal.
- Schedule as soon as you notice any illness with your pet. Medical conditions are a lot easier and lower cost to treat early on. Your veterinarian can help you determine the urgency. In some cases, going to an emergency clinic is the best option. At ZimmVet we do set aside appointments every day for same day emergencies. These often fill up as soon as the phones are turned on in the morning.
- Be courteous to others. Cancel your appointment 24 hours in advance or more if you do not plan to attend. There are many owners that are desperate to take that appointment spot.
- Refill medications and food in advance, use delivery and home autoship options. Support your local veterinarian by using their trusted on-line stores that are very price competitive. At ZimmVet.com we have an on-line store that has medication, food and supplies. We also have ProPlan direct for Purina food and Hills to Home for Hills food. Make sure you keep enough medication and food for at least 2 weeks in the case of shipping delays or shortages.
- Use technology. The phone lines at veterinary clinics are overloaded. Use on-line booking tools, text and email. At ZimmVet.com we have many on-line resources including scheduling, and medication refill requests at zimmvet.com.
- Be nice and understand veterinary staff want what is best for your pet. Compassion-fatigue and burnout are common in the veterinary industry. We are part of the community; positive social media posts go a long way in building positive relationships with your veterinary care team.
Disclaimer: This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice. Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.