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Pet Owners In Conn. Seeing Delays At Veterinary Offices Amid Staff Shortages, Pandemic Pets

Ozzie, a pandemic puppy, relaxes during his first spring.
Jillian Ives
Contributed Photo
Ozzie, a pandemic puppy, relaxes during his first spring.

Listen to an interview with Dr. Jose Oyola Morales.

Pet owners in Connecticut are complaining of excessively long wait times for nonemergency appointments with their veterinarians. Many practices are experiencing a shortage in support staff, causing a backlog. 

Emergency veterinarian Dr. Jose Oyola Morales from the New England Veterinary Center in Windsor says one reason is that nurses are leaving for positions in human nursing.

“They have all the skills already in place to succeed and are choosing to go down that profession because they are better compensated,” he said.

The backlog only grew when people started getting new pets when they were forced to stay home during the pandemic.

Oyola Morales said pet owners are understandably frustrated and are sometimes turning to emergency veterinary hospitals. He recalled one of his recent cases involving a 3-year-old dog with lymphoma.

“What struck me about this entire conversation was that the owner said, ‘I’m an owner who takes care of their pet. I do bloodwork every year. Why can they not see me?’ The reality is that they are working on a backlog of cases,” said Oyola Morales. “No fault of the owner, no fault of that provider, just a fault of the situation.”

Oyola Morales recommends being patient and proactive by getting medical records in order, particularly for pets dealing with a chronic condition, and being kind to those in the vet’s office.

Copyright 2021 Connecticut Public

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.