Local Veterinarians Experiencing Influx of New Patients

Many Local Vet Clinics Have Had to Turn Away New Patients

DULUTH, Minn. – The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on many issues over the past year and a half, and now local vets are speaking out about the impact they’re dealing with on a daily basis.

The global health crisis has kickstarted a movement known as “pandemic pets.”

Local breeders and animal shelters experienced high adoption rates over the past year, and now those pets are making their way to vet clinics for routine medical care and other serious issues.

Dr. Michael Hargrove is the owner of North Shore Veterinary Hospital in Duluth’s Lakeside neighborhood.

He says the entire veterinary profession is overwhelmed which isn’t a bad thing for his practice, but it is taking a toll on other clinics in the area, especially ER and overnight vets.

“When you call the same day and say, my animal is sick, you can’t always get in because they’re just full. People are calling the emergency clinics. When the ER practices open, their parking lots are full and so they’re coming to work and they’re incredibly stressed out. It’s a two to three-hour wait the second they open,” said Hargrove.

With the closure of Duluth Business University back in 2017, there are fewer options for vet tech programs, creating a shortage of new employees at local vet clinics.

Dr. Hargrove says he’s fortunate to have hired two new doctors over the past few months and they continue to take new patients at this time.

The facility blocks out ten appointments daily for emergency cases, but he’s asking animal owners to call ahead and be patient as they deal with a new influx of four-legged friends.

“The more you can plan for the future, the better. If you can call one month ahead or two months ahead when you know that your routine care is coming up because there are so many sick animals and pets that need more urgent care now that we’re trying to help on a more immediate basis that if we can schedule routine things on a more forward-looking thing it really helps,” said Hargrove.

To help with the growing demand for vet care, North Shore Veterinary Hospital is looking at adding more mobile options to help clients such as phone apps and nurse hotlines that animal owners can access from the comfort of their own homes.

Click here for more information from North Shore Veterinary Hospital.

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