Pet owners frustrated as veterinarians battle high demand

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PUEBLO – Hilltop Pet Clinic in Pueblo West is one of the few clinics that is now admitting new patients.

However, the majority of the others are still “overwhelmed” by demand, said Brian Crook, owner and medical director at Hilltop.

“It’s a crazy time right now. We have a lot of people who have adopted animals through COVID. They will be home … And they have started noticing health problems with their animals and bringing them with them. “

Hilltop says they typically see around 60 animals a day. In his 35 years as a veterinarian, says Crook, he has never seen the dilemma that clinics are everywhere today.

“The lists go way back to being like the top of the list so you can’t get in … and if you have an emergency? Well I think you better have like a thousand dollars to get in after work, because you “I won’t come in,” said Delilah Armijo.

Armijo recently had to take one of her three dogs to the emergency vet and says the upfront payment was $ 600.00 before medical care was provided.

“There’s no waiting list anywhere in Pueblo,” she says.

Crook says veterinary clinics are facing the same staff shortage as other industries, in addition to the increased number of pet owners caused by COVID-19.

“It’s hard to find people, it’s hard to find vets, it’s hard to find qualified vets.”

According to a 2020 study by Merck Animal Health and the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians are 2.7 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.

“As I’ve always told young vets, if you ever get used to euthanasia, you have to retire. But we have to deal with it and I think a lot of people have a hard time with it. “

In the meantime, Crook says that if you are a frustrated veterinarian you should be patient. He believes Hilltop’s peak of demand is in the downturn.

“We’re trying. It’s not that we don’t want to see you, we really want to take care of your pet, but we don’t want to compromise. We want to make sure that when you walk in, your pet is at the highest medical level.” treated.”

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