What's taking the vet so long?

7 reasons behind longer wait times at the vet in the Pandemic Puppy Age

When Covid-19 sent the world into lockdown in 2020, there was a silver lining: pet adoptions soared, to the delight of animal rescuers.

While animals getting adopted is always great news, the practically overnight surge sent an already-strained veterinary industry into overdrive.

Vets suddenly found an unending queue of patients at their door. The result: increased wait times—and angry clients interpreting it as vets "not caring".

Online ratings for vets everywhere took a nasty downturn as pet owners vented their frustrations, even while they sat waiting their turn.

The veterinary industry already had some of the highest numbers of burnout, depression, and suicide before the pandemic, which has only made things worse.

A 2021 survey of vets in Norway found that 27% felt life hadn't been worth living over the previous year, and a 2020 study in Germany found 32% of vets to have increased suicide risk.

So, let's take a look at some of the many reasons for wait times at vet hospitals and maybe you'll cut your vet some slack at your next visit.

Pet ownership increased almost twofold during the pandemic, which meant an almost doubled workload for vets practically overnight.

1. 70% surge in pet ownership

2. Not enough vets

While the pet population increased, the vet population hasn't, so existing vets are working overtime every day to take care of as many pets as possible.

3. Not enough support staff

Illness, childcare issues, burnout, and staff quitting due to stress from dealing with angry pet owners means fewer people doing more work.

4. Overflow from other hospitals

Even small, out of the way vet hospitals have been inundated with pets traveling hundreds of miles for care due to other hospitals being closed or full.

5. Emergencies

Every life matters, so emergencies must take precedence over non-emergent cases. After all, every critical patient is someone's family.

6. Client conversations

Every patient comes with an owner and discussion on diagnosis, treatment, and meds. The pet parent faced with decisions and full of questions isn't thinking about the time.

7. Pandemic safety protocols

To protect vulnerable staff and clients, staff duties now include extra check-in paperwork, curbside service, and sanitization procedures for every client.

Your vet may be taking longer to get to you, but it's so that every pet can get the care it needs, and every pet parent the time they need.

So, next time you're at the vet, please remember to be patient and kind. They're doing the best they can for all the animals in their care.