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Veterinarians in Tucson struggling against pandemic pressures

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 20:18:58-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — It is a lot harder to get your dog or cat in to see a veterinarian these days. Pet clinics across Tucson say they are swamped with patients, and it can take weeks to schedule an appointment.

The owner of Tangerine Pet Clinic Dr. Michele Estheimer says veterinarians are facing a pandemic pet buying boom, supply issues, and worker shortages. She has even had to perform emergency surgery when surrounding animal hospitals were too full.

“They said sorry we can't help you. So, we met in the parking lot, and I took Clyde in with me. I did his surgery in between appointments that day.”

Her clinic is currently scheduling wellness appointments four to six weeks out. Cathy Loveridge says she and her French bulldog named Bear felt lucky to get in.

“It was getting kind of scary. He was due for his first round of shots so luckily, they took him,” she said.

This office was the 5th she called.

“There were so many places that wouldn't even take new patients.”

Estheimer says veterinarians are dealing with burnout from over stressed technicians and assistants, inflation, and discontinued supplies.

“Veterinary diets, medications, it will be available and then they will stop producing,” said Estheimer. “We are seeing all that as well.”

She asks people keep in mind current struggles when it comes to making appointments and wait times.

“It's a team, we all need to work together, and we are doing our best.”