COVID-19 and its impact on veterinary care | Way of life

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed historic pressures on the veterinary field and pet owners across the country.

These challenges impact patients, especially at a provider like VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 sites in the United States and Canada caring for more than 4 million companion animals each year. Consider these tips to help you navigate this new reality and ensure your pet has access to the care it needs to stay healthy.

Establish a relationship with a veterinarian. Establishing a relationship with a veterinary hospital means your pet will have a team to help them who know their medical history and can identify problems early to improve the chances of a positive outcome. Just like your own health, don’t wait for something to go wrong to see your pet’s veterinarian.

Make an appointment in advance and outside peak hours. The best appointments to book early include annual and semi-annual checkups, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and elective surgeries. If you’re not sure what appointments to schedule, ask your veterinarian. Booking your pet’s next recommended exam while you leave your last exam is an easy way to find an appointment time that works best for you.

Have a financial plan. Veterinary care for unforeseen events and emergencies can often be expensive, as can human health care. Owners should consider the total cost of caring for a pet and create an emergency fund to use if something were to happen to your pet. Getting pet insurance or enrolling in a wellness plan are other strategies that can help ease the financial burden.

Know where to go for emergency care. It is important to know where you can take your pet in case of an emergency. Know where several emergency veterinary hospitals are located in your area in case your pet’s doctor cannot see you. You can also ask if your veterinary hospital offers tele-triage or other virtual care options. For example, through the myVCA app, you can access 24/7 live chat with licensed veterinary professionals to answer questions and offer advice.

Be patient. Veterinary medicine is in high demand. Remember that caring for pets is not just a career, but a passion for veterinary professionals. They work to ensure that you and your pets receive the world-class medicine and local care you expect and deserve, even with increasing patient numbers.