Pandemic Puppies & Kitties – Checking in with the Weston Veterinary Clinic
We’ve all heard the stories about the growth in pet ownership during the pandemic–actual media have covered it, as well as the Owl and the Wes-TEN. While the Owl’s pre-pandemic rescue dog and cat are well cared-for by an animal hospital in Waltham, it was time to check in with our hometown Weston Veterinary Clinic to see how things are going here in the capital of labrador retrievers (see this Owl on dog breeds in Weston). Amanda Brown, CVP and Pracitce Manager, was kind enough to take some time to answer Owl questions.
Owl: Have you noticed a large spike in first-time dog and cat owners in the area? More dogs than cats? And are most people getting puppies or kittens, rather than older animals? Rescue vs. Breeder? And do you see more first-time pet owners? –
Weston Vet Clinic: We have noticed a very large spike in new first – time pet owners as well as already existing owners who have decided to add to their family. In terms of our new client population, we see an even mix of people in the area who are first time pet owners to people who are pet owners that are new to the area. I would say that there has been more of an increase in dogs versus cats. Those new pets we are seeing are more purebreds versus rescues getting scheduled.
What’s the most exotic pet you have seen at the clinic?
We only see dogs and cats!
Are you able to take new clients at this point or are you pretty booked up?
We have had to limit new clients to those who do not already have an existing relationship with another clinic in the area. We understand that many clinics have stopped accepting all new clients and that there are those clients need a clinic for medical care. It is a balance of trying to help those that need it without having the overwhelming number of new clients/patients that need to get scheduled. We are booking out our wellness exams with vaccines into November for some of our doctors and our illness appointments are getting booked out 2 weeks. We do leave openings for same day emergency appts to help accommodate those calls.
Do you think some people are starting to regret or rue at least getting a pet? They’re not easy, can be expensive and now some people have to get back to work so may have behavioural issues as the pets aren’t used to being alone/crated etc. –
We are seeing a lot of separation anxiety occurring now that people are starting to go back to the office. In the beginning [of COVID], we saw a lot of trouble with puppies not being well socialized. Breeders were unable to get people in to visit with the litters, and clients were unable to be around other people or dogs during training sessions, so that definitely impacted behavior with these new pets. We have seen this get better in recent months but still an issue.
What do you wish people knew before adopting an animal?-
I want people to research all aspects of that animal including medical needs, training needs, and husbandry needs. I would want them to research insurance and how that could impact medical care for the life of their pets. I would also like them to plan out long term how this pet will impact their lives, and lifestyle, so that they truly understand the responsibility.
What’s been the biggest challenge for Weston Veterinary Clinic during this extended pandemic period?
Our biggest challenge has been the ability to help and a accommodate everyone. Veterinary medicine right now is struggling to stay above water. Because of the increase in pets there are more appointments needed and more emergencies happening. ER’s are placing holds on taking patients because their ICU’s are full and there are not enough nurses and doctors to handle it all. This then puts a strain on those of us working in general practice, because we are trying to help by seeing those non-emergency cases so that the emergency rooms are not bogged down by minor issues. This has led to our schedules getting overbooked daily. All of this has led to an increase in compassion fatigue in the veterinary industry which is resulting in many leaving the profession.
How many vets do you have at Weston Vet? How many clients (animals)?
We at Weston Vet have 7 doctors and roughly 5,000 patients and counting!
What’s the silver lining?-
The silver lining that will come down the line would be that as the industry changes, insurance will become more utilized, thus allowing for compensation to be more where it should be for the industry. This would also allow the hospitals to advance with new technology and different medical solutions.
Is there anything else you want to communicate to the community?
The one thing that I would want to communicate is to be patient. We all truly care about each and every patient we see, and we are trying to do the best we can at getting everyone seen.
Weston Veterinary Clinic cares for many animals in Weston, including the one and only Weston Police K9 Knox, everyone’s favorite Slovak doggo. You can find Weston Veterinary Clinic (and patiently wait for an appointment) at 152 Boston Post Road in Weston. firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-531-9179. Bring the staff some donuts: they deserve them.