El Paso sees a shortage of veterinarians with more pets needing service

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Local veterinarians are seeing longer lines and more new clients bringing their pets since the start of the pandemic.

Dr. Orlando Garza, veterinarian and owner of East El Paso Animal Hospital, said that these have been unprecedented times for the veterinary profession.

“We come in first thing in the morning and there’s usually a line waiting to go ahead and get checked in, as we go through the day it’s steady or overwhelming,” said Dr. Garza.

He explained that the waiting lines have been getting longer for the walk-in clinic, the waits went from the usual one hour to up to four hours.

He said he believes that more people got pets during the pandmic because they were spending time at home, but also had some extra income from the stimulus check.

Those who already had pets, he said he believes they started noticing their furry companions needed more veterinary care while being with them at home.

Dr. Garza said the is also a significant increase in new clients that come in with their new pets.

East El Paso Animal Hospital is one amongst several veterinary clinics that take walk-ins. Dr. Garza explained many are choosing this option instead of setting an appointment because other clinics have appointments booked weeks in advance.

“There are not enough graduating [veterinarians] to fill in positions,” explained Dr. Garza saying that even with open job positions at their clinic and many others, there is a significant lack of workforce.

He suggested taking your pets to yearly check-ups and their regular vaccinations to avoid unexpected vet visits and make sure to take preventative measures. He said this would keep the lines shorter.

He also advised that pets should be taken to the vet in case you notice anything wrong with them, instead of making a call.

He predicts this trend going into the summer of this year, but slowing down as we reach the end of the year and things start going back to “normal.”

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