WISCONSIN (WAOW) -- If you're a pet owner who's had a tough time making veterinarian appointments, you're not alone. Animal hospitals and clinics in the area have been swamped for months.
Veterinarians say there's multiple reasons for the surge, and no easy solution for the problem.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, animal shelters saw a rise in adoptions. Now, those pets need care, which leads to clinics being busier than ever.
"It was great from the respect that COVID really helped animals in shelters find homes, which is amazing. But now there's more animals for us to see that have now come out of the shelters," Wausau Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Jamie Gifford said. "So now we have a higher case load to deal with because of all the adoptions that happened."
A manager for the Stevens Point Animal Hospital and the Community Animal Hospital said she's seen appointments fill up at both centers, and that the rise in adoptions is brought on by so many more people working from home.
"I think more and more pet parents are working from home. They're working remotely so now is a good time for them to adopt a new pet," Hospital Manager Eyvonne Harris said.
However, experts say the work from home set up is having a positive impact on people's pets.
"[There are] a lot more remote positions that are available now so they're very much hyper aware of their pets, making sure they're taken care of and safe," Harris said.
But it does make a perfect storm that's led to weeks-long waits, or longer: an increase in adoptions plus a serious shortage of veterinarians available.
"There's a lot of veterinarians that are to the age of retirement. There is only so many colleges, universities that have veterinarian programs and so that's part of it as well, so the demand and the demand of the veterinary services is higher than the veterinarians that come out of school and come into the industry," Harris said.
Both women said their clinics offer same-day appointments for sick pets but they fill up quickly as well. They advised going to a 24/7 clinic if you are not able to get an appointment at a clinic.
They also advised that pet owners looking to make appointments for routine visits should go ahead and call now so they can be put on the books for a few months down the road.