In her 20 years of experience in the veterinary field, Riverview Animal Hospital operations manager Kelli Cormier said she’s never witnessed anything close to the spike in demand she’s seen recently.
She said that’s what led the clinic, which has been open for more 50 years, to make a difficult decision.
“Balancing the demands of emergency and general medicine over the last two years have become increasingly challenging, so we had to make a decision to close our general practice,” she said in an interview on Monday.
The clinic will now only offer emergency drop-in services, forcing those who came in for regular veterinary appointments to find a new veterinarian by early August.
Cormier said her staff are trying to help their clients find spaces for their four-legged friends, but it’s been challenging.
“I think all animal hospitals across the province are having similar issues. There’s not enough time in the day to see the amount of pets that are needing our care,” she said.
She believes the sharp increase in demand is due to a combination of pandemic-related factors, like the rise in remote work allowing people to have more time to care for pets, as well as people seeking the comfort of a pet in troubling times.
That was the case for Siobhan Curry, who adopted her dog in August 2020.
“It’s mostly because my son experienced bouts of depression during the lockdown and it was very difficult for him so I figured getting a dog would be helpful for that,” she said on Monday.
Curry, who had brought her dog Winnie into the animal hospital for emergency services on Monday, will be unaffected by the changes as she already has a regular vet for Winnie.
She said adopting Winnie definitely boosted her family’s morale.
Cormier said there wouldn’t be reductions to staffing levels or hours at the Riverview Animal Hospital, as there was sufficient demand for emergency services.
“It takes a lot of people to make a 24-hour facility go around. We are constantly recruiting (staff),” she said.
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