Vet offices backed up with appointments, pet owners turning to emergency clinics for care

Posted at 9:07 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 09:07:19-05

CLEVELAND — This year many of us have been spending a lot of time with our pets and it may be leading some owners to schedule more appointments than they're used to. But vet offices are feeling the surge.

“We noticed the case load just skyrocketed," said Dr. Dustin Beauchamp, the medical director for MedVet for Cleveland West and Cleveland Northeast. "MedVet as a whole, like all the hospitals, we've seen about a 40% increase in ER alone, but pretty much all the specialties. I don't think any of them have not all of them have seen an increase in case load as well."

MedVet is a 24/7 emergency and specialty clinic. There are two locations in Northeast Ohio. Beauchamp said his offices are seeing far more routine emergencies like vomiting, diarrhea and infections compared to years past. He said it's due to general practitioners being swamped with appointments.

“Instead of them being able to accommodate a lot of them, you know, sort of like routine emergencies that they normally could see or like same day appointments, they can't. They're booking two, three, four weeks out. Some of them aren't even taking new patients. Which honestly like before this, I never really saw that happened like ever," he said.

Like many offices in our area, MedVet is not allowing owners inside the building during majority of appointments. Beauchamp said they're using a phone system to keep owners updated with what's going on inside the office. This system has also lead the company to hiring more staff members to get more patients through efficiently.

And just like with human appointments, some veterinarians are turning to telemedicine when they can.

Beauchamp said the best thing you can do for your pet is to stay on top of routine care.

“Doing things proactively, you know, being up on your just general wellness. And, you know, calling them in advance because most vets are booking several weeks out," he said. "And just knowing where your closest local emergency hospital is so helpful.That's the one thing like for any new pet owner. Know your primary care and its number and their hours and know the closest emergency hospital and their phone number."