The COVID-19 pandemic has put historic pressure on veterinarians and pet owners across the country.
These challenges affect patients, especially with a provider like VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 locations throughout the United States and Canada, caring for more than 4 million pets each year. Consider these tips to help navigate this new reality and ensure your pet has access to the care needed to stay healthy.
• Establish a relationship with a veterinarian. Establishing a relationship with a veterinary hospital means that your pet will have a team to help who is familiar with his or her medical history and can identify concerns early on to improve the chances of a positive outcome. Like your own health, do not wait until something goes wrong to visit your pet’s vet.
• Book times in advance and outside of rush hour. The best appointments to book early include annual and semi-annual wellness checks, vaccinations, dental cleanings and elective surgeries. Ask your veterinarian if you are in doubt about which appointments to schedule. Booking your pet’s next recommended exam while checking out your last is an easy way to find a time that works best for you.
• Have a financial plan. Veterinary care for unexpected events and emergencies can often be expensive, as can human health care. Owners should consider the total cost of caring for a pet and set up an emergency fund for use should anything happen to your pet. Getting pet insurance or signing up for a wellness plan are other strategies that can help ease the financial burden.
• Know where to turn for emergency help. It is important to know where you can take your pet with you in case of an emergency. Know how many veterinary emergency hospitals are in your area if 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 live chat around the clock with licensed veterinarians to help answer questions and give advice.
• Be patient. Veterinary medicine is experiencing an increase in demand. Remember that caring for pets is not just a career, but a passion for veterinarians. They work to ensure that you and your pets receive world-class medicine and home care that you expect and deserve, even with the increased patient burden.