As a result of the lockdown and the ongoing efforts in reducing the threat of COVID-19, animal hospitals have been facing many challenges. Since the pandemic started, veterinary clinics have seen a sharp increase in cases, sometimes overwhelming the system in place. You may find there are more delays and longer waits than were typically expected during previous vet visits.
Why is this happening?
With people spending so much more time at home since the pandemic emerged, pet rescues and adoptions have increased a lot! This has resulted in a sudden increase in furry family members that need healthcare.
Based on our own experience during this last year, new pet owners have spent more time at home, creating an opportunity to observe symptoms or behaviours that might otherwise not have been seen. Some are perfectly normal behaviours that new pet parents are unfamiliar with, while others are symptoms of emerging health concerns. The combination has resulted in an increase of inquiries, which can overwhelm animal hospitals with appointment requests and calls.
A lot of vet teams find themselves short-staffed unexpectedly due to mandated isolation surrounding potential symptoms or exposure events. We must proceed with an abundance of caution to ensure team members and hospital operations are not put at risk. Also, staff with children are experiencing limited child-care service availability. This perfect storm leaves the staff who are on-site stretched thin and working extra hard to provide uninterrupted care to clients.
The curbside visit protocol takes time, but right now it’s the only safe way for our team to see your pet. Pet parents fill out an appointment form prior to the visit, then arrive for their scheduled appointment time where only the pet is permitted into the building. The medical team will assess the pet, put together a plan of care, and reach out by phone to discuss findings and get approval for any recommended treatments or diagnostics. The team can then perform or administer the recommendations that have been consented to and will call for pickup once complete.
This all must be done while maintaining the highest integrity of safety protocols, including thorough sanitization of all items and objects utilized by patients and staff alike in between uses.
How can you help make things better?
Be patient, be kind. We are working hard to make vet visits as efficient and safe as possible for all involved. In the meantime, it’s a matter of patience and clear communication.
Consider telehealth service. If it’s not a clear emergency, you can request a virtual visit via phone or video chat with our veterinarians. Wellesley AH offers this service on many occasions, and you can learn more about it here: https://
Fill out our appointment form prior to your visit! This is where you can list any and all concerns you have with your pet, so our team can add it into the medical record prior to your visit, and the doctor can access it immediately. Bring all health records from your pet’s prior care at other hospitals if applicable. Include a list of requested services, current medications, doses, and current diet. These will reduce appointment time considerably as we won’t have to call and ask these questions.
In the event of having to hospitalize your pet, bring a blanket, some of their regular food and treats, or even a small toy to comfort them.
Please have a cell phone on you with a charged battery so the doctor can reach you without delay, and ensure you provide your current phone number when checking in.
Please come on time. If you are going to be delayed and arrive 15 minutes late or more, there will not be enough time left to perform and complete your pet’s exam and treatments, so we will have to reschedule.
All payments should be via our online payment portal or through e-transfer whenever possible, to maximize distancing. If you must pay in person, we do accept all payment types except cheques.
Please prepare for the weather – use the right clothes and take into account you might have to wait a bit. Those who live nearby are encouraged to return home to wait in comfort for the doctor’s call.
Be positive and polite with the staff. We are real people, experiencing stress and going through challenges during lockdown, just like you. Please treat us kindly and with respect.