Now is not the time to say that everything will be fine! In the plane that is built in flight, it would rather be the time to prepare for impact. And not just in the human health system… In veterinary medicine too. How to prepare for it? A short survival guide for pet owners.
The field of veterinary medicine is no exception to the shortage of personnel. There is a shortage not only of veterinarians, but also of animal health technicians. The problem was present before the arrival of COVID, but it has since been amplified, with the sanitary measures applied in clinics and the increase in animal adoptions.
Since the start of the pandemic, waiting times for obtaining a veterinary consultation have increased significantly, almost everywhere in Quebec. However, the fifth wave seems to affect the proper functioning of veterinary establishments even more given the absenteeism caused by the surge of positive cases for COVID-19, a problem that is felt in all work sectors currently.
We are therefore not only witnessing a certain form of load shedding for preventive health appointments (vaccines, deworming, sterilizations, etc.), but also temporary and intermittent closures in the major centers of Quebec emergency. Some establishments even have to refuse new customers.
So, seeing a veterinarian for your pet can be quite a challenge these days. According to Dr. Gaston Rioux, president of the Order of Veterinary Physicians of Quebec (OMVQ), veterinarians currently seem unable to meet the demand and, in several regions, animal owners have to wait several weeks or months in order to get an appointment.
In a press release, the OMVQ announces that service disruptions are inevitable and invites pet owners to prepare. But what for?
“When veterinarians are not up to the job, they have to take preventive treatments such as vaccines to second place. The risk of observing an increase in animal diseases in the coming months is very real. Some of these diseases are transmissible to humans, pet owners should be vigilant,” warns Dr. Rioux.
How do you prepare?
- Avoid infectious diseases and accidents by eliminating contact between your pet and those of others, especially if your pet is not up to date on its vaccinations or has symptoms and by refraining from bring your pet to public places and dog parks.
- Be careful ! Accidents happen so quickly. Keep your dogs on a leash, don't leave anything poisonous or dangerous within reach of their muzzle, etc. Increase your level of vigilance.
- Be prepared and check the availability of veterinary care in your area. Learn about your options in an emergency. Don't wait until the last minute, because you could bite your fingers! Stay on top of your pet's health, don't wait for the situation to be critical to contact your veterinarian. Re-read my column entitled “A little bit old perhaps, doctor? for a list of symptoms of subtle early chronic problems that should alert you.
- Are you dreaming of adopting a pet? Thank you! Postpone this project. I previously wrote a column on this topic titled “Putting Off Your Puppy Project: A Sensible 2021 Resolution!” Otherwise, be sure to find a clinic that accepts you as a new client even before the adoption.