Local Veterinarians Face Overwhelming Demand For Animal Care Right Now

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The buzz of activity never stops, as medical professionals move from patient to patient, one after the next. “Everybody is working as hard as they can,” says veterinarian Dr. Amy Fauber. At Charlotte Animal Referral and Emergency, better known as CARE, Dr. Fauber says they’ve seen an increase in both emergency and specialty case loads. At the clinic, open 24/7, what used to be no longer than a two hour wait for emergency treatment is different now. “Sometimes its a 2 hour wait, sometimes its a 6 or 8 hour wait,” says Fauber.

She points out, 11 million pets were adopted during the pandemic by a lot of Gen Z and Millennials. And yes, she says, age in this instance, matters. “Younger people expect very high level care, they want to seek very high level care for their pets so they and so they bring them in on emergency as well as to our specialty services,” says Fauber.

Across the state line in Tega Cay, Dr. Kelly Baete at Baxter Veterinary Clinic says normal well visits or surgical appointments are also backed up. She says, “For normal circumstances, our surgery schedule is about two weeks out.” Now, the earliest available appointments are in September.

“It’s a blessing, but its also a little stressful for vet teams and for pet owners alike,” says Dr. Baete.

Both doctors urge patience as they try to see as many patients as they can, while balancing the physical and emotional toll of their work. Dr. Baete says, “There may be longer appointment times because it does take longer to sanitize when you have people coming into the building.”

“It’s been hard and compassion fatigue is a real thing for us,” says Dr. Fauber.

Both doctors say another reason for the rush on vet appointments is they think people are more in tune with their pets after being quarantined with them for months and they may notice health issues they didn’t previously. They also both anticipate things like curb side service will stick around, even after the pandemic.