The pandemic has sparked a massive surge in pet adoption and now local veterinarians are trying to keep up with the demand for appointments.
Since the early days of the pandemic’s onset, Templeton’s Main Street Small Animal Hospital has been a busy scene – with phones ringing on the phone and customers outside waiting for an appointment.
“Oh man, we are very busy!” Said Dr. Alex Gomes. “For the first hour or two of our day, it’s sure to be controlled chaos.”
Dr. Alex Gomes said that it’s not just his clinic that has so much traffic.
“We see this in all of veterinary medicine, not just on the Central Coast,” said Gomes. “But everywhere.”
Gomes said the surge in demand for veterinary services came from the dramatic increase in pet adoption during the pandemic and the increase in pet care requests as many people work from home with their pets by their side.
“So here and there they see little things a little more than they used to,” said Gomes. “Or they have a little more time working at home to go to the clinic.”
Demand for pet services has doubled the number of customers for Gomes’ clinic, resulting in longer waiting times for customer appointments.
“Not only do we see frustrated customers, but customers start beating,” said Gomes. “Customers who sit in the parking lot and post on Facebook are attacking the clinic and attacking certain vets – and that’s unfortunate.”
Gomes said that not only is the demand for pet care rising, but that veterinary clinics across the country are lagging behind in sourcing medicines and food due to the supply chain problems of the pandemic. In addition, there is a shortage of veterinary labor which exacerbates the problem.
The longer waiting times in the local veterinary clinics do not seem to be easing anytime soon.
“We’re not about to make money,” said Gomes. “We are only here for one reason and that is to help animals. So we have to understand that the vets in the community just ask for a little compassion and a little patience and understand that we are doing our best. “