October 4, 2021


Be Kind: Your Veterinary Staff is Dog Tired

by Aili V. Heintz, DVM

One thing that most of us can agree on is that things are not completely “normal” yet (whatever normal may mean to you).  Every time we turn on the on the TV, listen to the radio, or pick up most newspapers or magazines, we continue to hear about COVID in some aspect.

Some of you may have felt the direct personal effect of the Corona virus. Others of you may have been lucky enough to move through the past two years unscathed. But whether we like it or not, COVID has drastically changed our lives.

COVID has affected the veterinary profession as well. 

Please be kind; we are stretched thin

As with most industries, the veterinary world is experiencing a shortage of workers. There is a national shortage of DVMs and veterinary technicians.  This shortage paired with a dramatic increase in households having pets has made things a bit of a challenge.

In 2019, pet-ownership was at an all-time high with 54% of people in the U.S. having a pet.  Current statistics show that number has now increased to almost 70%. 

This is amazing news for all those wonderful pets that found their forever homes! We are so happy that more and more people are able to find an extra spot in their hearts and homes to love a furry, feather, or scaled critter. 

We are short staffed

With the increase in pets and the shortage of staffing (as with most industries), things may look at little different at the vet clinic. 

  • Many clinics are not accepting new patients.
  • Most appointments are booked out weeks in advance.
  • Same-day appointments may not be available. 

This doesn’t mean that we don’t care.  This means that we are doing our best to try to make sure that every pet gets the attention and care that it needs.  If your pet’s situation is not life-threatening, we may need to wait to see your pet while we attend to more critical patients.

In some cases, we may need to refer you to the emergency clinic so that your pet can get the emergency care it needs.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t want to see you or that we aren’t concerned about your pet.  This means that we may not have the staff or the equipment that your pet needs in order to have the best outcome.   

Please be kind; we’re taking extra safety precautions 

Our clinic and our staff also look a little bit different right now, too.  In an effort to try to keep our staff as healthy as possible, we are limiting the number of people in our building. Additionally, we are asking that you wear a mask inside our office.

We are taking these precautions so that we can keep our office open to continue to serve you and your pets. 

If you are not comfortable wearing a mask or if you are unable to wear one, we understand that everybody’s situation is different. For clients without masks, we still offer curbside care. 

We don’t like wearing masks, either

Believe me, wearing masks all day isn’t something I thought I would be doing at work daily. But, we are trying everything we can to stay healthy for our clients and pets. 

We didn’t implement these changes to try to inconvenience you or to make “a statement.” We’re simply trying to stay healthy.  Under those masks we are still the same smiling, caring faces that you have gotten to know over the years. 

We’re still the same caring people we were before the pandemic

What hasn’t changed in this pandemic is our:

  • Love and concern for you and your pets.   
  • Dedication to helping pets lead the fullest and happiest lives possible. 
  • Commitment to innovative and integrative care. 
  • Commitment to helping people and their pets.

While things may not be completely normal yet, and many things are beyond our control, one thing we can do to help in the meantime is to be kind and to be understanding.

I am truly lucky to work at a clinic with so many loving, caring, and understanding clients and families. We are doing our best to help to care for everyone’s pets and to keep them happy and well.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate together during this “not quite normal, yet,” time. 

Dr. HeintzDr. Heintz is a small and exotic animal veterinarian at Countrycare Animal Complex in Green Bay, WI. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Her passion is helping all animals, whether furry, scaly, or feathered, lead long and healthy lives.