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'Be patient': Why it might be taking longer for you to get your pet into the vet

Right now, veterinary hospitals are overwhelmed across the country and in central Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you've noticed it's taking longer for you to get your pet into the veterinarian, you are not alone.

Right now, veterinary hospitals are overwhelmed across the country and in central Ohio. 

At Knapp Veterinary Hospital in Columbus, Dr. Robert Knapp has stayed busy. He said at the start of the pandemic things were slow due to restrictions, but once they lifted, it got busy again and stayed that way. 

"I think overall practices are as busy as they want to be," Knapp said. "It's a struggle to sort of keep up with demand."

10TV interviewed Dr. Rustin Moore, who is the dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Moore said there are several factors making vets so busy including more people adopting pets during the pandemic, people spending more time with their pets at home and noticing issues, and a nationwide staffing shortage. 

"Some practices have stopped providing after-hours emergency, many places have long wait times in urgent care or emergency rooms, and then also longer periods to try to get in to get an appointment," Moore said. "They are actually fitting in - it's been estimated - about 30% more [patients] than they normally would fit into a given day or week." 

Many veterinary practices are leaving room in their schedules for emergency services. That means if your pet is due for routine care, it may take a little longer for someone to see them. 

Here is what veterinarians suggest you do as a pet parent:

  • Establish care with a veterinary practice as soon as possible
  • Schedule appointments early
  • Take care of your pet at home (provide high-quality food, put away trash or other items they could get into, keep the up to date on flea, tick and heartworm prevention, etc.)
  • Be patient

"Know that although it may not be convenient for our schedules, nothing is convenient for the veterinarians' and technicians' schedules right now since it's so busy," Moore said. "Plan ahead, be nice, be understanding, be patient."