An Open Letter to our Clients and Friends
Dear Clients and Friends,
We all thought that getting through 2020 was the hardest part of the COVID pandemic, but in many ways for the veterinary industry, 2022 has been the most challenging year we've ever been through.
Unprecedented demand for veterinary care combined with a nationwide shortage of DVMs and Certified Veterinary Technicians, plus a huge outflow of professionals from the field due to compassion fatigue, higher pay and a better work-life balance in other non-veterinary fields has led to an incredible amount of stress not only for those of us still working tirelessly to serve patients and their families, but also YOU, the pet parents who rely on us for quality medical care.
Extremely long wait times for appointments, a shortage of Urgent & Emergency care, and a lot of clinics having to stop accepting new clients, has become the new normal. No one thinks this is a good thing, but the reality is that it’s not likely to change dramatically anytime soon.
We want to let you know that we understand your frustration as a pet parent, and we feel it too. It is hard to have to say “no” so many times each day when we can’t get your pet scheduled for an appointment for weeks, especially if they’re sick. It’s exhausting when no matter how hard you work each day, you still can’t see all the animals who need you. No one ever saw any of this coming or thought that having an over-booked schedule every single day, month after month, would be a reality.
So, what are we doing to try to help the situation?
- First and foremost, we’re working to protect the staff that we DO have from becoming a statistic and burning out and leaving the field or leaving the work force entirely. For we know that without our staff, we can’t help anyone.
- Secondly, we are evaluating our schedule constantly to be able to provide care to the patients with the most critical needs first. This mean wellness exams and vaccine appointments are limited each day to allow time for those pets who need priority care. This may also mean that a non-life- threatening concern with your pet will need to wait longer for an appointment time.
- Finally, we are staying in close contact with the emergency pet care facilities in our area, as they too are experiencing a high demand for care, staff-shortages and closures. This way if we feel it is best for your pet to refer you for more immediate care, we have the most up to date information and hours of service to help get your pet the care they need.
What can you do to help us?
- We ask for KINDNESS & PATIENCE, especially with our staff, who are not to blame for any of this. Please be kind to these hardworking professionals who do so much every day to care for our patients and who want nothing more than to help in any way they can. Aggressive behavior and verbal abuse will not be tolerated toward our staff. We have an awesome professional team that love your pets and they deserve to be treated kindly.
- If your pet is coming due for routine/wellness care, call us right away so we can work on scheduling before your pet is overdue. Currently, we are scheduling out 4-5 months
- If your pet becomes even slightly ill, or shows another area of concern – DO NOT WAIT to call us! Get something scheduled before it becomes an emergency situation. Currently we are scheduling 2-4 weeks for non-life-threatening concerns.
- Please call us at least a day ahead if you cannot make your appointment. Whenever we have a no-show, it leaves a hole in our schedule that could have been used by someone else’s pet who needs care.
Please know we love your pets. When we go home at night, we often take home worry and stress over pets we have seen throughout the day and those we couldn’t. We are often found crying in the back after a euthanasia and we show up every morning in hopes of making a difference in the lives of our patients. To our loyal and wonderful clients, we thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this difficult time.
Doctors and Staff of The Animal Hospital of Howard