Pandemic pets straining vets

Published: Jan. 30, 2022 at 9:00 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2022 at 11:26 PM EST
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The pandemic has been a “paw-sitive” time for many furry friends. Pet adoptions have surged. But, there’s another side to this tale. The boom in new pet parents means a lot more clients for local veterinarians. Our Kayla Martin explains how the furry friends frenzy could impact the way you care for your pet.

“It’s been really great to see all these amazing animals we get into the shelter going into really good homes,” said Erin Alamed, the interim shelter director at the Humane Society of Chittenden County. “Before the pandemic, we were adopting out just over 1,000 animals, I would say, on average. And just this past year, in 2021, we adopted out over 1,300 animals.”

Which is great for the pets but stressful for our local vets.

“That has affected obviously the veterinarian community and placed a lot of strain on their operations which we hate to see,” Alamed said.

Some vets say they’re booking appointments weeks or sometimes months in advance, but the owner of the Shelburne Veterinary Hospital says it all depends on a few factors.

“Their client list and how many doctors and techs they have in the building,” Liam Bisson said. “If some of your staff is quarantining, it’s hard. Just don’t have the people.”

A staffing shortage Bisson says his business experienced early on in the pandemic, but Bisson says he feels like things are starting to get back to normal.

“We’re moving along. We’ve got another vet, so I don’t think there’s much that we can’t handle at this point,” Bisson said.

But if you’re struggling to schedule an appointment, the Humane Society also runs its own community pet clinic that’s low cost to the public.

“Get their updated vaccines, updated flea and tick medications. We can’t be anybody’s normal vet, but it has been kind of nice to alleviate the pressure a little bit for those veterinarians in our area,” Alamed said.

In the meantime, Bisson has some winter tips for new pet parents.

“Common question I get with the cold weather is, ‘Should I be getting clothes like a sweater or a jacket for my animal?’ The truth is it’s not so much their body I worry about, it’s their little feet on the snow,” he said.

Bisson says the best way to protect their paws is with booties.

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