Have you noticed that lately, wait times at your veterinary office are longer? You are often put on hold, and have to wait longer to speak with a doctor or to pick up your pet’s food and medications? Maybe you have found yourself thinking, “They don’t care like they used to,” or that “Things have changed around here.”
The truth is, things have definitely changed. However, this does not mean that your veterinary hospital no longer cares. We all care – everyone from our veterinarians, RVTs, assistants and receptionists. And we work harder now than ever before.
Challenges faced by our industry
The veterinary profession faces an all-time professional shortage, accompanied with an increase of pet population, and last but not least, the difficulty of practicing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Put together, these factors have contributed to added stress and pressure for everyone in our team, as well as our colleagues all over the country.
According to statistics from the CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association), in 2019 there were 12,866 veterinarians in Canada, with only 1,674 veterinarians practicing here in British Columbia. As of now, Canada’s population of household pets is 8.3 million cats and 8.2 million dogs. That’s quite the gap of pets-to-veterinarian ratio, not mentioning the other species that we care for!
To bring it closer to home, the Nanaimo census recorded 115,743 household residents in 2019, 104,936 in 2016, and 98,021 in 2011. This means that on average, our city has been welcoming 2,215 new residents every year since 2011. With growth like this it’s overwhelming to imagine how we can efficiently help all of the pets in our community. This is where you can come in!
Practical tips for a better hospital experience
During these times of fast-changing policies that affect our daily routines, it’s important that we all work together. Here is a list of small things you can do to help our team, so that we can maximize our resources and skills, and provide the best care for your pets.
- When you notice something off, book an appointment ASAP.
Our schedules are fully booked and we have a lack of professional staff to take on extra work. If you wait until your pet is very sick, we may not have the ability to use our resources and talent to their full potential to treat your pet.
- Ensure a safe and “pet friendly” home environment.
Prevention is key when it comes to pet care. There are plenty of things in the home that are toxic if pets ingest them. Please ensure that those items and anything that could harm your pet are safely put away out of their reach. Pets getting loose and hit by cars also happen. Always check that gates and doors are locked, and pets are monitored in the yard.
- Pre-book and keep up on regular health appointments.
Vaccinations are part of a pet’s regular health care routine. Pre-booking these appointments so that your pet’s vaccines are up-to-date, will prevent you from having to scramble during urgent situations that require these vaccine checks (e.g. when you are about to travel with your pet, or if ever you need to kennel your pet).
- Do your best to plan for veterinarian recommendations.
Some clients will leave recommendations until the issue has become urgent, because they were not seeing the pet in pain. Leaving health concerns until they become urgent will cause more expense for the owner and more stress for the pet (as well as their health care team).
With your help and patience, we can get through this together. Our team will continue to work hard to give you and your furry family member the best service we can provide. After all, you own pets and we help pets for the same reason:
BECAUSE WE LOVE THEM!