Why is my Vet Booked Out So Far?

Why is my Vet Booked Out So Far?

4 minute read

It's no secret that post-2020, things are different in the pet industry. One of the biggest question many pet owners, and even pet professionals, have is; "why is my veterinarian booked out so far?" It is relatively simple to keep your pets well-check appointments every year on the calendar, but when something comes up that needs more urgent care, pet owners are often faced with going to a more expensive emergency clinic (with probably a six hour wait) or hoping that their regular vet can squeeze them in. So, whats going on?

This problem has many layers. To keep things short and sweet:

  1. There is a shortage of veterinary professionals. Due to the expensive education, pay and benefits, and cost of living, some people are deciding against pursuing careers in the veterinary field. The cost of becoming a DVM range from $150K-450K by some estimates. The starting salary for a DVM in the United States is $70K. After taxes and benefits, that equals out to roughly $24/hr.
  2. There are a lot of pets. Pet ownership in the United States is up! 66% of households own at least one pet. There is approx 87 million pet owners and 126K vets. Assuming each household only has one pet, that is almost 700 pets per vet! 
  3. The socio-economic scene is different. People reconsidered many of their values in the years in and around 2020, which resulted in more people working from home, focusing on family and health, and pursuing hobbies. Because of this, people were getting more pets and were around them more! Naturally, they started to notice pet health problems sooner too. 

So, what should you do as a pet owner? 

  1. Keep up on your pets regular appointments. This may sound like a silly recommendation if your pet has an urgent health issue, but with frequent well-check appointments, you may be able to prevent an urgent pet health condition from happening all together! 
    1. Be kind and patient with your veterinarian & their staff. They truly do want whats best for your pet and the shortage of appointments is frustrating to them too. Please always be kind to them. Mental health issues are a serious problem in the veterinary medicine community - veterinarian professionals are 4x as likely to die by suicide than the general population. 
  2. Have good health habits for your pet. Feed them quality food, make sure they always have fresh water, and give them exercise and play!
  3. Keep your pet safe. Don't allow your pet off leash near roads, fast moving water, wildlife or other dangerous areas. Transport them securely in a car. Pet-proof your house to ensure they can't access medicine, or other poisons. 
  4. Take a pet first aid & CPR course. This education will allow you to recognize a variety of pet health conditions and provide life-sustaining care if necessary! 
  5. If your pet does have an urgent health condition that needs immediate care, determine if they should go to an emergency clinic or not. You can do this by taking a pet first aid & CPR training course and/or calling your vet to discuss the situation. If they do need emergent care, go to the nearest emergency veterinary center immediately! If they need care in the next few days, but is not immediately life treating, look for urgent care or same day appointments by calling around. This is typically best found by calling first thing in the morning. You may have to do a "drop off" appointment which is leaving your pet in their care for the day so they can treat them in between appointments or other work. 

In summary, while it is extremely frustrating to be faced with a three week wait to see your normal vet, understand that they still truly care about your pet and want to see them healthy and well. Take the best care of your pet by ensuring they have foundational needs met and keeping them safe!

For more information about ER veterinary clinics, please see this article by AHAA! https://www.aaha.org/publications/newstat/

This article was written without the assistance of AI. 

« Back to Blog