The Quebec Veterinary Professional Order (OMVQ) is very concerned by the present situation regarding availability of veterinary services.
We share pet owners as well as veterinarians concerns about the implications of the coronavirus disease on the well-being of animals.
For this reason, we developed a public awareness campaign at the beginning of November, which included a press release as well as some social media tools (only in french).
The OMVQ would like to reach out to pet owners to help them understand why veterinarians are overwhelmed. Indeed, following a survey of our members, veterinarians are working harder than ever, 87% of veterinarians feel exhausted and 65% of veterinarians are working more hours.
Companion animal veterinary facilities as well as veterinary hospitals and 24-hour emergency services are functioning over capacity with 40% of veterinary facilities noting an increase of traffic 1.25-2 times their regular capacity.
- Public health measures slowing veterinarians down
Veterinarians are following public health measures during this time to provide services safely which means it takes longer for veterinary facilities to offer the same level of care.
These measures which include social distancing, restriction of client access, increased disinfection between appointments, curbside appointments, triage, and prioritising of cases, slow down the running operations of veterinary facilities.
- Increase in animal adoptions
While there is no doubt that pets contribute to our overall happiness and well-being, especially in times of stress, the public needs to be aware that veterinary services are overloaded at the moment and therefore accessibility to veterinary services may be difficult.
Indeed, 90% of veterinary services must turn away clients, mainly new patients, and routine care appointments.
- Veterinary staff shortages
While there was already a shortage of veterinarians pre-pandemic, COVID-19 didn’t help - 75% of veterinarians surveyed said they were experiencing a shortage of veterinary personnel.
How can pet owners help?
Patience – essential during a pandemic. It may take longer for your pet to be seen, especially for non-emergency conditions.
Respect – the public health measures in place for your and the veterinary staff’s protection.
Comprehension – Veterinarians are doing their best to care for the most animals possible.
Calm – COVID-19 affects everyone, no exceptions.
Increased awareness – of your pet’s health. Considering the delays in obtaining an appointment, you may need to call sooner rather than later before your animal’s condition deteriorates. Trust your veterinarian’s judgment, he/she will be able to guide you on what needs to be seen more urgently.
Together veterinarians and pet owners can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.