On the Site:

CORONAVIRUS

Vet clinics get creative after COVID callouts leave staffing short

Jan 25, 2022, 9:21 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 4:17 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Veterinarian clinics around the Salt Lake Valley say so many staff members are calling out sick from COVID-19 that they’re scrambling to keep up with animal patients.

Some have cut down hours or services and can be booked out for weeks. Others have stopped seeing new patients or suspended urgent care visits.

Meanwhile, the patient demand only continues to rise.

At Animal Care Daybreak, a litter of three eight-week-old puppies came in Tuesday afternoon, as their owners made sure the four-legged babies got their shots and nail trims.

While the visit was routine, a normal vet appointment like that may be hard to nail down in some places.

“Multiple times we’ve had clients calling and saying, you know, ‘I can’t get into my vet for three weeks because they’re so busy and so booked out,'” said Dr. Lauren Michaud, associate veterinarian at Animal Care Daybreak.

Michaud and the clinic’s development manager, Jordan Wolf, explained that clinics in Salt Lake County were already short-staffed to begin with. Wolf said that even before the pandemic, many in the veterinarian industry were already leaving because of compassion fatigue and burnout.

At the same time, people began adopting pets during the pandemic — leading to an increase in appointments and vet visits.

This last month, as the COVID-19 omicron variant swept through, the sick callouts have only added stress to the system.

Several vet clinics told KSL TV Tuesday that they’ve had to shorten their hours because of a lack of staff and no longer take new clients. Some say they stopped offering walk-in or emergency care, and instead have to refer pet owners somewhere else.

Others say they are completely booked for anywhere from three to six weeks out.

Many explained that they are referring animal owners who need immediate help to one of the few area pet ER clinics.

“The emergency clinics have been overloaded,” Wolf said. “It was not unheard over the last year or two to really hear of nine, 12, 15 hour waits for emergency care.”

Animal Care Daybreak has had to think outside the box in an effort to give the best care possible.

“We’ve done a few different things to try to accommodate the really high case load that we’ve seen recently,” Michaud said.

For example, they began to offer telemedicine — just like what you’d find for humans.

“They can help you triage your pet,” Wolf said. “They can work with the owner to find out what’s going on and come up with a plan. ‘Do you need to go to the emergency clinic for immediate treatment? Can this wait a week? Can we call in some pain relief?'”

And instead of fur parents accompanying their patient to the vet, Animal Care Daybreak started a drop-off clinic, which allows them to take in more urgent cases as they need throughout the day.

“Between the drop-off system and telemedicine, it’s been changes for both us and the clients,” Michaud expressed. “And most of our clients have been very understanding.”

In addition to understanding, they ask for patience as clinics work through the challenges.

They said clinics will often refer pet patients to other places if they can’t take them in to make sure all fur babies are taken care of.

“It’s just the veterinary community pulling together and doing what we can,” Wolf said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 4, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott A...

Associated Press

Supreme Court rejects COVID-19 vaccine appeals from nonprofit founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The Supreme Court has rejected two appeals related to COVID-19 vaccines from Children’s Health Defense, the anti-vaccine nonprofit founded by independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

24 days ago

FILE - Comirnaty, a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, is displayed at a pharmac...

Jen Christensen, CNN

The FDA tells COVID-19 vaccine makers to update shot to target newest variant

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it had advised the makers of the Covid-19 vaccines to formulate their new shots to be a better match for the JN.1 lineage of the coronavirus.

1 month ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

1 month ago

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 03: Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy a...

Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

Fauci testifies publicly before House panel on COVID origins, controversies

Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing heated questioning from Republican lawmakers about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2 months ago

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

2 months ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Vet clinics get creative after COVID callouts leave staffing short