Veterinarians experiencing increase in business during pandemic
SALISBURY, Md. – It’s fair to say most people are a little more mindful of their health these days and local veterinarians say it seems pet owners are also paying more attention to the health of their four legged friends with many reporting an increase in business since the pandemic began.
“Initially we were worried. Are we going to have to lay people off? What are we going to do? And that’s not happened at all,” says Dr. Michael Peters, the managing veterinarian at Johnson-McKee Animal Hospital in Salisbury.
At a time when many small businesses are struggling, two Salisbury veterinarians say their offices are busier than ever.
“We probably get about five to six calls at least a day looking for a veterinarian. I think that’s true, most veterinarians getting those calls,” says Dr. Erin Giza, the owner of Pets On The Shore Veterinary Hospital in Salisbury.
While they aren’t sure about an exact cause, they have a few guesses about why this may be happening. “It could be they’re getting more pets because they’re home now. They’re spending more time at their home so they are seeing issues and they are trying to get the honey do list taken care of, things they meant to do for a long time they finally got time to do them,” says Dr. Peters.
Others say the demand may be due to the fact that many local shelters have had more pets adopted during the pandemic. “A lot of people are now home and they feel like well isn’t this a great opportunity to get a new pet and incorporate that into the family because we are having to social distance from our friends and things we would normally do,” says Dr. Giza.
Like everyone, vets have also had to change the way they do things. Many are offering curbside services even facetiming owners during evaluations while they wait outside which some say has increased the time and manpower they need.
“So all these things that can a lot of times be taken care of in 10 or 15 minutes now takes a half an hour and instead of two people being involved it takes five. So it has been a challenge,” says Dr. Peters.
Some say, in general, even before the pandemic there was a need for more veterinarians on the Shore. So that may also play a role in the increase in demand.
Many veterinarians say they are not accepting many new patients right now. So if you’re searching around for a new vet, you may not have as many appointment options available as usual.