Some area veterinarians are shorthanded amid pandemic pet population boom

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 8:02 PM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Staff at the Belton Small Animal Clinic say their patient volume has gone up 40% since the pandemic started, and they’re trying to handle the influx with a smaller staff.

The clinic says it’s experiencing a shortage of veterinarians and vet technicians, which makes wait times for pet owners that much longer.

“The wait times have more than doubled, whereas people would wait three to four hours, now they could wait all day,” co-lead receptionist, Baylee Titus said.

“A lot of people are coming through. We have a lot of new clients come in with new pets,” Britten Cook, one of the lead technicians said.

As a walk-in clinic they say their wait times have always been a little longer, but it’s worse now than anything they’ve seen.

They say they are seeing a lot of new pets that were adopted during the pandemic, plus as more people work from home, they have more time to take their pets to the vet.

“Staying home, they have more attention on their dogs, and they go ‘oh, somethings not right here,’” Cook said.

The increase in patients is hard enough on the staff, but they say there’s been a lot of turnover due to burnout that comes with treating sick animals.

“[The veterinarians] are being spread thin, sometimes are doctors are working three four rooms at a time same as technicians,” Cook said.

“Just try to be patient with us, we truly care about every pet that comes through. We just hope you can understand that we are doing our very best,” Titus said.

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