Some area vets run out of staff amid pandemic pet population boom

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) – Staff at the Belton Small Animal Clinic say their patient volume has increased 40% since the start of the pandemic, and they are trying to manage the influx with a smaller staff.

The clinic says it is experiencing a shortage of vets and veterinary technicians, further increasing wait times for pet owners.

“Wait times have more than doubled, when people would wait three to four hours, now they can wait all day,” said Baylee Titus, co-receptionist.

“A lot of people come by. We have a lot of new customers coming in with new pets, ”said Britten Cook, one of the senior technicians.

As a walk-in clinic, they say their wait times have always been a bit longer, but it’s worse now than anything they’ve seen.

They say they’re seeing a lot of new pets that were adopted during the pandemic, and as more people work from home, they have more time to take their pets to the vet.

“By staying home they pay more attention to their dogs and they’re like ‘oh, something’s wrong here’,” Cook said.

Raising the number of patients is tough enough for staff, but they say there has been a lot of turnover due to the burnout that comes with treating sick animals.

“[The veterinarians] are scattered, sometimes doctors work in three four rooms at a time like technicians, ”Cook said.

“Just try to be patient with us, we really care about every animal that passes. We just hope you will understand that we are doing our best,” Titus said.

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