Animal clinics struggle to meet demand for animal care

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Animal clinics and hospitals in our state are busy trying to keep up with pet visits, but many of them are having a hard time handling the increased demand for animal health care.

While a cat naps nearby, Lauren hasn’t stopped clicking and typing in patient appointments at Green Bay and Allouez Animal Hospital.

Becky Krull, owner of Green Bay and Allouez Animal Hospital, says the situation is the same at other pet clinics in the state.

”Whether it’s a new pet or a pet they had, the need for veterinary care has gone up substantially,” said Dr. Krull.

Some have heard the strain is due to increased pet adoptions during the pandemic, but that’s not always the case.

“What we’re just recently finding -- and this is coming out in a September 15 medical report -- is that pet adoptions are actually the lowest that they’ve been in five years, which is kind of shocking for us,” Jo-Ell Carson, executive director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association said, but, “Vet visits are actually up. they’re up about 4.5% in 2020.”

Carson says existing patients going in for a simple check-up account for a big chunk of that increase, because emergency cases were prioritized when animal clinics stayed open as essential businesses.

“That’s created a backlog for people now trying to see their veterinarian, and maybe they haven’t seen them in over a year,” Carson said. “There’s a large drop in efficiency that the pandemic has caused, a 25% drop in productivity.”

Many clinics, like Dr. Krull’s, don’t have enough employees. That only adds to the stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues pet health care workers are experiencing.

“That should be the message for other practice owners and veterinarians, is that take this opportunity to realize that health and wellness is so important for your team,” Krull said.

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