This past year has been a trial for us all. We have had to isolate from our friends, co-workers and our aged family members. The imposed isolation of the virus has lead us to seek out the company of non-human company by adopting shelter animals and larger numbers than in the past. This has increased demand for veterinary services and increasing the time to get an appointment for preventive and diagnostic services.
The problem is the number of veterinarians available to fill the demand was already diminished before the pandemic. According to a lecture held in San Diego in December 2019, the unemployment rate of veterinarians was half of the national level for the full economy. Add the pandemic where we lost numerous local vets who were close to retirement age and those fearful for contracting the virus for themselves or their close family members and the situation has the remaining vets/staff stress worse.
In order to keep the veterinary staff safer, we have had to resort to curbside service to limit exposure to the human companions of our patients which has stressed some patients and their parents. Please understand we WANT to have the face to face contact with owners but if the support staff or veterinarian gets infected the practice would need to close temporary to allow heavy disinfection and recovery. My practice has had to close twice in 2020 due to staff getting infected and the human medical community can’t ensure that we are fully protected from getting it again but more importantly that if we are re-exposed and remain healthy, we won’t infect someone without knowing.
The WVMA (Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association) has been trying since the vaccines started to be available to various groups to get veterinarians on the list as essential workers (which we were last year) to be able to get the vaccine. The DHS (Department of Human Services) has turned down the livestock vets twice and just recently allowing with teachers in early March to get it. But the companion/small animals have now been turned down three times and they have indicated they won’t allow until all people of any age are allowed.
Therefore I’m asking all small clients PLEASE be patient! Again we want you in the rooms with your fur-babies, but a lot of clinics were not built for the social distancing required to keep us all safe. If you really feel that your pet needs your presence and are willing to pay the higher costs, there are a few mobile practices you can call for an appointment.
Thank You for your understanding,
Dr. Sanjay Jain, owner
Apple Valley Veterinary Clinic and House Calls Veterinary Service