MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The pandemic is making a trip to an animal hospital more difficult for pet owners.

Clinics are swamped with clients while also adjusting to new safety measures.

Dr. Teri Skadron, owner and veterinarian at Skadron Animal Hospital, made a plea for patience Monday as she explained how business hasn’t been the same since the pandemic started.

“If you can see what’s going on here when it’s busy, we are doing the best that we can,” Skadron said. “We’re booking out weeks in advance. We have staff burning out, we have clients who are stressed.”

Skadron also says they’ve bought three more phones with plans to possibly revamp their phone system.

“Our phones just can’t keep up with the demand,” she said.

It’s a grind that vet clinics all across the Twin Cities are feeling. COVID-19 concerns forced many to transition to curbside service where pets are dropped off as their owners wait outside. Dr. Skadron said that process can elongate appointments since there isn’t direct communication between the doctor and pet owner in the exam room.

There’s also a wave of new pet owners in the past several months.

“I think people are home and they’re trying to find new hobbies, new things to do. Now’s the good time to get a pet,” she said.

Schedules are packed so tight, some hospitals like Westgate Pet Clinic aren’t even taking new clients. Emergency slots are also filling up daily.

“I had an emergency last week, and we called an emergency clinic and they said ‘don’t send it,’ so I had to send it somewhere else,” Skadron said.

She is advising pet owners to expect to book appointments several weeks in advance. She also suggests owners keep their phone handy in case they need to communicate with doctors as they wait outside a clinic.

“As long as people are patient and understanding, it’ll work,” she said.

Owners are also encouraged to pay for medicine over the phone instead of at the front desk so it can quickly be picked up at the door if their clinic offers that option.

Jeff Wagner

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