Veterinarians slammed with appointments as more people become pet owners

SPOKANE, Wash. — Veterinarians are seeing more and more of you furry friends recently. Doctors have been slammed with appointments, and believe it all comes back to the pandemic.

Some vet offices can’t get you in for an appointment for at least a week, and some even two. Surgeries — like dental cleanings and spaying — are being booked months out.

“Ever since COVID-19 has started, it has skyrocketed with how busy we are,” said Dr. Holly Hruza, associate veterinarian at Medical Lake Veterinary Hospital.

Pet owners are calling for a variety of reasons.

“So we’re seeing an increase in just general appointments, as well as people are home and seeing their pets more often. Noticing little things with their pets, so we’re seeing more sick animals as well,” said Hruza.

As the demand increases for an appointment, vets are trying to do what they can to get you in.

“If it’s a mundane thing, like an ear infection, well it needs to be see,” said Dr. Suzanne Coulson, managing veterinarian at Southcare Animal Center. “We don’t really want to have to send them to the emergency clinic, but we may not have an appointment for a week.”

Coulson is also attributing this demand to Spokane’s growing population. The South Hill office is in an area growing rapidly. They’ve had to hire more staff to keep up.

Hruza said she’s seen people come from other vet clinics and vice versa.

While many vet clinics across Spokane County are going through this high demand, there are a few things you can do to make the process smoother.

“If you have concerns about your pet, please still call in,” said Hruza. “There’s a good chance you might be offered a walk in appointment, or a drop-off time.”

Also, check to see if a clinic has a cancellation list. If you have to see another doctor, be prepared.

“Having previous records if you happen to be from another veterinary clinic,” said Hruza. “That will not delay your appointment if you have those records available.”

The best thing to do is simply call as soon as you can and don’t hold off on your pet’s care.

“We have to try and juggle and fit to get the best we can do for everybody, so we’re all doing the best we can,” said Coulson.

Also, if you’re having someone else bring your pet in for a visit, make sure they’re up to speed on what’s wrong with your furry friend. It’ll make the appointment go a little quicker.

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