The Burlington Veterinary Center team is happy to be able to welcome pet owners and their pets back inside our center. And while this gradual return to standard procedure is overdue,  long wait times and other challenges will be around for the foreseeable future.

During the past year, you may have been surprised that the soonest opening for your pet’s annual wellness visit may be several weeks out. While our goal is to provide your pet immediate care, many recent challenges have affected all veterinary care centers, necessitating advanced appointment scheduling and extended wait times.

COVID-19 delayed preventive pet care

To protect their own health during the pandemic shutdown, many pet owners postponed their pet’s preventive care (e.g., annual exams, screening tests). Unfortunately, many pets are now experiencing diseases that should have been preventable, but now require more complex veterinary intervention. For example, if your pet had mild dental disease in 2020, a dedicated home care plan may have kept the disease’s progress in check. However, without our guidance, your pet may now need a dental cleaning under anesthesia to treat what has progressed to full-blown periodontal disease.

As your pets return to our center, staff are playing “catch-up” to restore their health and wellbeing, and to put their preventive care back on track.

Shifting safety protocols for staff and pet owners

Like all caregivers, our staff faced everchanging safety protocols during the pandemic, but we maintained our commitment to you and your pets and managed to deliver high-quality care in a new way, despite the challenges with restrictions and barriers seemingly introduced each day. At each turn, we modified, altered, or abandoned how we provided essential services, maintaining high quality and ensuring efficiency. We accomplished this while always following public health and patient safety measures. 

Although curbside care takes additional time, we are proud to have kept staff, patients, and clients safe, while remaining open.

Our unwavering commitment to pet comfort and cooperation

Our core beliefs—including our Fear Free patient care approach and Cat Friendly techniques— may take a little longer than traditional restraint and pet handling. During the shutdown, however, we recognized that our patients deserved a positive experience in a welcoming and stress-free environment. Didn’t we all? 

Although examinations may have seemed different to our patients, especially in the absence of their beloved owners, we approached them all with extreme gentleness—and a supply of peanut butter—xylitol-free peanut butter—for our canine friends. We believe kindness and compassion are worth a few extra minutes—and we know you do, too.

Work-from-home inspired pet awareness

Owners’ increased awareness of their pets’ health and wellbeing is one positive outcome that emerged from the dark days of the shutdown. As owners spent more time than ever in close quarters with their pets, they noticed an increased number of subtle changes in their behaviors and quirks. This heightened awareness meant that they increasingly sought veterinary care for their pets’ ear infections, food allergies, parasites, stiffness, lethargy, and other abnormal signs. 

Although we believe you can never know too much about your pet, this new togetherness between pet and owner has increased the number of non-well and urgent care appointments, contributing to our overloaded schedule.

Veterinary staffing crisis and a pet adoption boom

Veterinary professional burnout is a real and serious issue. Pandemic-related stress only compounded an already emotional and demanding job—and caused many veterinary professionals to leave the field. Like all of you, our team faced challenges with child care, illness, and family obligations, leading to staff turnover and shortages. 

Meanwhile, pet adoptions surged during the initial lockdowns, as humans longed for animal companionship, purpose, and distraction. Although data from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) question whether a true “pet adoption boom” occurred, we definitely observed an increase in pet adoptions in our veterinary center. 

Nonetheless, veterinary centers everywhere have had to adapt and react to a fast-changing landscape, while continuing to provide pets with reliable, convenient, and high-quality care. Considering the tireless dedication of veterinary professionals, a longer wait time seems a small cost.

How you can help your pet’s veterinary care team

Serving you and your pets is our mission at Burlington Veterinary Center. Your veterinary care team asks that you show your support by following our 4 P’s of Post-Pandemic Pet Care. 

  • Patience — Your patience and understanding help us provide calm and comfortable care for all pets, including those too sick to wait for an appointment.
  • Planning — Call far in advance if you know your pet will need a prescription refill, or is due for a wellness appointment. Allow up to one week for prescriptions, and at least a month for annual visits.
  • Positivity — Positive energy is infectious—in a good way—and helps everyone feel better, including your pet.
  • Protocols — Stay up to date on our website or Facebook page to learn about changes in our protocols and policies. Watch our welcome back video that explains our new guidelines for in-person appointments. 

The Burlington Veterinary Center team looks forward to seeing you again soon! Schedule your pet’s routine care now by calling or requesting an appointment online. Remember, your pet’s health is our priority, and we are always striving to keep wait times to a minimum.