Edmonton animal clinics busier during pandemic

·2 min read

Demand for animal care has surged in Edmonton during the pandemic.

At the Glenora Family Pet Clinic, getting in for a regular check-up takes up to four weeks now, rather than a week. The usual two-week wait for surgeries has stretched to six weeks.

Dr. Belinda Lowes said there seem to be two reasons for the increased demand at her clinic, where families often now wait in their vehicles in the parking lot during a pet's examination.

"Lots of people are adopting right now," she told CBC News. "People are at home more, so they feel like it's a good time to get a puppy so they can be home while they're training it. The kids are home so that, you know, something for them to do and pay attention to."

With more people working from home, they're noticing more pet ailments than they used to, Lowes said.

According to the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, it's a trend seen right across the province.

"Small animal practices are reporting that they've never been so busy," said Dr. Darrell Dalton, registrar secretary treasurer with the association.

He said clinics have to do more disinfecting and sanitizing between visits as fewer people are allowed in at the same time. Dalton asked clients to be as patient as possible.

Scott Neufeld/CBC News
Scott Neufeld/CBC News

"They're putting through animals as quickly as they can," Dalton said. "But the whole COVID thing has slowed the practices down."

Despite the changes, Chris Bamford said he's pleased with the service.

He and his wife waited in the parking lot at Glenora Family Pet Clinic while their cat, Pancho, underwent tests for 45 minutes.

"We were asked to either wait in the car or come back, so that's really the main difference," Bamford said.

As Pancho cuddled on Bamford's chest back in the vehicle, and he and his wife chatted with Lowes through the window.

Pancho, 13, has been losing weight and no longer shows interest in his favourite foods. The family was relieved to get the diagnosis, a thyroid condition that could be treated with two pills a day.