COVID-19 has caused severe disruptions in veterinary hospitals, with most clients having to defer their elective surgeries until after the crisis. In a surprise move, some veterinary practices have resumed their elective operations, hoping to clear their backlog before too long. After nearly three months unable to perform surgeries, many professionals see this as a sign that the scare contributed to the virus is subsiding. Some veterinarians remained open through the crisis but advised their clients that regular elective surgeries would not resume until after the crises had receded.
Many states haven’t put veterinarians on the list of essential workers, meaning that for a long time, those places remained closed due to shelter-in-place orders. Michigan Humane mentions that the governor of the state restricted all non-essential veterinary procedures in early April of 2020. However, as more people retreated to their homes, they elected to adopt cats and dogs as companions. With veterinary centers closed, these pets couldn’t schedule spaying or neutering until the shelter-in-place orders were lifted. As elective surgeries resume, these pet parents can finally access the veterinary care that their little ones need.
Some veterinary centers, like some surgeries offering dental implants, have made exceptions for spaying and neutering of pets depending on their age and if it would leave them at risk of complications. Even so, these veterinary centers had limited their procedures to no more than a couple a day. They aimed to ensure the safety of the owners involved, as well as any staff present at the facility. As an additional precaution, these veterinary centers have adopted curbside service for their medicine dispensary and other activities of that sort.
Overflowing Elective Surgery Queues
While veterinary centers are resuming their elective surgery queue, the downtime coupled with an influx of new pet acquisitions means that the waiting list for electives will be much longer. To ensure that they continue to obey social distancing orders, the amount of surgeries is still far less than pre-COVID. All visitors are required to wear gloves as well as masks to ensure that they limit the spread of infection. Each veterinary center in a region is likely to resume its elective surgery queue based on their situations. Clients will need to contact their veterinary centers to clarify availability, as well as the date and time of scheduled appointments.