Veterinarians under pressure: take precautions with your pet

The surge in adoptions during the pandemic has increased the demand for veterinary care to the point where you can sometimes wait weeks or even months to have your cat or dog examined. Therefore, it is in your best interest to monitor your pet’s health.

The Order of Veterinary Doctors of Quebec (OMVQ) recently gave this advice, as its members crumble at the task. Like many other workplaces, veterinary clinics have to deal with the many absences of their employees infected with COVID-19, but also with the lack of animal health professionals that has persisted for several years. All this while a wave of pet adoptions surged during the health crisis, which meant that their services were in greater demand.

So before you can get a preventive care visit, whether it’s a routine exam, vaccinations, or sterilization surgery, you’ll have to wait up to three months at certain clinics.

“And the veterinarians are doing everything possible to respond to emergencies,” underlines the president of the OMVQ, Dr. Gaston Rioux.

Since the delays are greater, consumers do not hesitate to express their dissatisfaction, much to the chagrin of the veterinarians. “The clientele is difficult. She doesn’t accept postponing appointments well,” reports Dr. Rioux, who asks the veterinary team for patience and respect.

precautions to take

In these difficult circumstances, the OMVQ advises pet owners to take precautions, especially if they have not received all the required annual vaccinations or if they are sick.

  • Keep your distance from other pets. If you’re going for a walk, don’t visit dog parks or public places where pet owners often go.
  • Take the time to review the services offered by the veterinary clinic you visit and the deadlines for obtaining an appointment. Give her a call or check out her website and social media. If necessary, find an alternative.
  • If your pet has health problems and you need to see a vet, don’t wait for the situation to get worse. Check quickly.


Can animals be vectors of transmission? The Canadian Health Agency (CSA) remains on the lookout for studies on the subject, but suggests that several species are likely to spread the virus.

Cats, dogs, hamsters and ferrets are among the animals that can be infected with COVID-19, according to the ASC. “It’s because their masters are infected, but they don’t show significant clinical signs that require hospitalization or any treatment,” says Dr. Rioux.

In Denmark, mink infected with COVID-19 became carriers of a mutation of the coronavirus that could be transmitted to humans. No fewer than 15 million of them were euthanized and cremated in 2020 and 2021, the La Presse newspaper reported.

In any case, if you contract the virus, keep your distance from your animal. Also observe respiratory etiquette: cough into your elbow, throw tissues in the trash after use, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands frequently.

adopt a pet

If you’re considering adopting a pet, contact your neighborhood veterinary clinics to make sure you can get services when your hairball is in your daily life. “In some veterinary establishments it is almost impossible to accept new clients,” says Dr. Gaston Rioux.

It also recommends, as far as possible, seeking the advice of animal health specialists -veterinarians and veterinary care technicians- before bringing a pet to check if it is suitable for your habits, or even consult the web portal of the Order of Veterinary doctors. of Quebec.

“A border collie is a very intelligent dog, but very active. It is not the animal that one should have in an apartment in Montreal”, says Dr. Rioux as an example.

behavior problem

Beyond the basic needs of the animal, there are behavioral problems caused by improper breeding, early weaning, or even lack of socialization.

“He sold anything during the pandemic because there was a lot of demand,” says the president of the Order. This situation has contributed to the comings and goings of animals in shelters – some with genetic disorders or even anxiety – and to the increased workload of animal health specialists.

Again, staff at veterinary clinics, if they have the time, can offer advice on finding a reputable breeder and, if necessary, a certified animal behavior expert.

“Instant crushes must be avoided,” insists Dr. Gaston Rioux, who encourages consumers to ask several questions before taking a pet home.

>> Read also: How much does veterinary care for a puppy cost? and How much does veterinary care for a kitten cost?


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