SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – Patients are experiencing long wait times in hospitals across the country and that delay appears to have trickled down to veterinary offices as well. Western Mass News spoke with a local vet to find out what is behind the problem.
A few months ago, Richard Casey noticed that his dog DeeDee had a bad cough, so he decided to take her to the vet. But after driving to Deerfield and being told there was a five hour wait, he decided to turn around and head home.
âWe ended up leaving. We never figured it out. We did it ourselves and we researched it,â Casey said.
Fortunately, DeeDee’s cough is gone. But Casey told Western Mass News he wondered what the result would have been if his illness had been more severe.
âIt would be tragic. You wouldn’t know what to do,â Casey said.
After hearing about similar experiences from other pet owners, we reached out to a local veterinary clinic for answers.
Dr. Sherry Himmelstein is a veterinarian at the Spruce Hill Veterinary Clinic in Springfield.
She said her office had always been extremely busy and the pandemic had only made matters worse, creating a backlog of patients.
âThere has been an increase in demand since COVID-19 due to many factorsâ¦ Our shelters have emptied, there have been many, many animal adoptions and new pet owners very attached to theirs. pets. “
Dr Himmelstein told Western Mass News that many people are looking for quarantine companions and adopted animals, leaving local vets inundated with new patients.
This influx of new clients has forced many veterinary practices to only accept existing ones.
âUnfortunately, the available slots often fill up and we find ourselves triply booked and working over lunch,â said Dr Himmelstein.
New pet owners now have to travel long distances or wait months for care. Dates aren’t the only thing that seems to be missing.
âThere has also been a shortage of veterinarians to fill these positions. Currently there are around five vacancies for every available veterinarian, âsaid Dr Himmelstein.