Pandemic pet surge keeping Omaha veterinarians extra busy

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – With more people staying at home during the pandemic last year, shelter animals have been adopted in record numbers. Looking after them all has proven to be a new challenge for veterinarians in the Omaha area.

At the L Street location of the Best Care Pet Hospital you can see everything: everything from St. Bernard to sand boas, even birds in plaster of paris.

Their saying goes, ‘If it fits through the door, handle it.’

But recently they have been inundated with new animals.

“We’ve been very busy since last March,” said Kelli Belt, a veterinarian.

Dr. Michael Bosilevac has been a veterinarian for 30 years and has never seen anything like it.

“We call it a ‘puppy pandemic,'” he said. “Lots of people are at home, so lots of people have new pets – and lots of puppies.”

While it’s good for business, like many others in town, his office is struggling to keep up.

“Typically we have to have 10% more puppies and kittens in our business to survive. So last year it was 20%, ”explained the vet.

That adds to the pets people already had before COVID.

Best Care hired a new vet to meet demand, but the waiting times for an appointment are longer than Dr. Bosilevac has ever seen it.

“We’ve been out for almost three weeks. And we’ve seen that with our emergency centers, which are simply overwhelmed with things. We hope to cut that down to a week, ”he said.

Fortunately, pet owners understand.

Dr. Bosilevac is happy that animals in need find a home and hopes to use the pandemic as a learning experience.

“You will be seen. It may not be the day you want to go, but you will be seen, ”he said.

Although they are overwhelmed with new animals, Dr. Bosilevac still encourages people to go to the shelter and take home a new pet.

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