The news was all about pets when the pandemic first started. Of course, they were also talking about the virus, but the fact that people were adopting pets at a record pace was also newsworthy.
It was great for the pets, but there were also some people who suffered as a result of it.
Some of the unsung heroes during that time were veterinarians. For example, Dr. Diona Krahn is a veterinarian in Raleigh, North Carolina. In a typical week, she would get anywhere from 3 to 4 new puppies into her practice but due to the rise in shelter adoptions during the pandemic, there were 5 to 7 new clients every day! As you can imagine, that brought along a lot of stress with it.
This wasn’t a problem that was limited to North Carolina. Veterinarians in all parts of the United States were seeing more animals, including some that were sick. Not only were they working longer hours during a time that was already stressful, they had to hire new staff but they still struggled to keep up with the influx of new patients.
Like many people during the pandemic, they suffer from burnout and fatigue but they do so because they are caring for the ones that mean the most to us.
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In the United States, some 12.6 million households got a new pet during the pandemic last year. At the same time, there were fewer people who gave up their pets during 2020 so they needed ongoing care. People worked from home so they spent more time with their pets but it also helped them to see when things were wrong, leading to the need for additional treatment.
Being a veterinarian has always been an in-demand job. The pandemic just added an additional level to it. Krahn ended up leaving her practice in North Carolina and now she is working in Utah and Idaho, where she runs the Pathway Vet Alliance, which overseas nine veterinarian offices and animal hospitals.
Some of the larger veterinary care groups also reported a significant rise in the number of new patients during the pandemic. This includes Thrive, which has 110 facilities in the United States.
The senior director at Thrive, Claire Pickens, said in the video below that people were powerless during COVID to care for those that were closest to them but they still had the option of caring for their pet. She went on to say that the industry is growing quickly and there are holes that need to be filled to keep up with the demand.
The pandemic has shaped our lives in many ways, and it seems as if it has also shaped the lives of our furry friends. Let’s just hope that those who care for our pets when they needed the most are able to keep up with the demand.
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