Veterinary medicine has been turned upside down these past 18 months

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Dr. Marty Becker
| South Bend grandstand


New routines caused by the coronavirus can mean new problems

VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center is seeing a change in workload due to different routines of people and pets due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Robert Scheer,

The experiences of pet owners in veterinary clinics have been turned upside down in the past 18 months. Have you wondered why this is what goes on behind the scenes and how veterinary care for your pet can change in the long term? We spoke to five vets about what they are seeing and what they think the future of veterinary medicine holds in store.

Procedure when visiting the vet

• Visit to the vet. Will we ever return to the exam room with our pets? Some clinics are already doing this, but this is a change that may become permanent – or at least an option for busy pet parents.

“There’s a real trend that owners no longer want to come into the exam room or be able to choose when to come,” said Lori Teller, DVM, professor of telemedicine at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Bioclinical Sciences ( CVMBS). “With routine wellness stuff, vaccines, they seem very happy to give up their pet. Some surveys show that about half of customers would like to stick to the curb or drop off, but there are definitely those who like to come in I miss the connection with the vet and the staff. “

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Shortage of veterinary drugs

• Lack of medication. If you have a dog with mitral valve disease, you have likely had regular problems finding certain medications due to production disruptions. Certain pain relief medications are also in short supply, a problem that began before COVID-19 (

These problems are not going to be resolved anytime soon, says Dr. Plate. “Many of these products come from China, including the basic product that is made into the medicines we use. As long as we have problems with the supply chain, things get complicated. AVMA is working closely with the FDA to provide easier access to compound drugs when for some reason we can’t get our branded drugs, “she says.

Vet shortage

• Not enough veterinarians. You may have noticed that you cannot get your pet to the vet as quickly as you have in the past, and getting an appointment with a specialist such as an oncologist or cardiologist can take a month or more to wait. Demand for veterinarians and veterinarians has exceeded supply, even if, not too many years ago, leading figures in the field were concerned that there were too many veterinarians. The number of households with pets grew during the pandemic and the number of veterinarians decreased, often due to retirement or burnout. Adding new ones is a slow process.

“It takes more veterinarians six years to graduate after they decide you need more,” said Eleanor Green, DVM, internal medicine specialist and former dean of Texas A&M CVMBS. It takes even longer to add more specialists.

The good news is that more internal medicine specialists are joining large general practices, making ultrasound, endoscopy, and consultations more accessible, says Dave Bruyette, DVM, DACVIM, chief medical officer of veterinary drug company Anivive. Then the internists visit surgeons and oncologists to treat their patients. “I would be pretty optimistic if the number of specialists in these areas continued to grow,” he says.

Breed characteristics

• Information. As the adoption of dogs and cats increases, so too does the search for information about them.

“Information about the characteristics of dog and cat breeds was in great demand,” says Jennifer Coates, DVM, who advises a variety of pet care companies. “With many people back to work in person, separation anxiety prevention and management have been popular topics.”

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Make pets happy

• Pet happiness. There is a great concern for the general well-being of pets, says Cheryl Brocki, DVM, vice president of veterinary relations at Vet’s Best Friend.

“When owners return to their offices, they want to make sure that their pets are happy and that they are spending enough time with them, or that they have enough exercise and social time. Dog daycare, strollers, and even cameras are being used more than ever to make sure the animals are healthy and happy. “

Do you have a pet question? Send it to or visit Pet Connection is managed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, journalist Kim Campbell Thornton and dog trainer / behavioral consultant Mikkel Becker.