SALT LAKE CITY — Veterinary clinics and hospitals in the Salt Lake City area have seen a massive uptick in patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and doctors say the calls for appointments still aren’t slowing down.
Members of the staff at University Veterinary Hospital and Diagnostic center say they’re a little surprised at how they've stayed so busy all throughout the year and even through the holidays.
Dr. Rachel Walton, a veterinarian at University Veterinary Hospital & Diagnostic Center, said there are several reasons for the spike in patients over the last year.
One of those reasons, she said, is that pet owners are spending more time at home with their pets and are noticing more problems with their animals.
Veterinary clinics are still catching up on a large number of checkup appointments that had to be postponed at the beginning of the pandemic.
Walton said people also seem to have more money to spend on procedures.
So-called “COVID pets” are also contributing to the spike as many people adopted pets to keep them company during the pandemic.
Walton said pet owners should know that it will take longer than usual for even the most common of veterinary checkups and procedures to take place.
“Just planning ahead and knowing that you’re probably not going to be able to call and get in within a couple of days like you may be used to, you know. We’re pretty consistently, for procedure type things, looking like a month out and probably three weeks or so and other types of appointments, so I think just planning ahead,” Walton said.
Pet owners are urged to give veterinary hospitals at least 24 hours of notice in the event they’re unable to keep their appointments. This allows hospitals to treat more animals whose owners are on waitlists.
Pet prescriptions and paperwork requests may also take longer than usual to be filled.