Diminished Quality of Veterinary Care During the Pandemic

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Diminished Quality of Veterinary Care During the Pandemic

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Our pets are a part of our family. So when their health is in jeopardy, it affects us all greatly. Early on in the pandemic, we had an emergency with our lovebird, Kermit. Our larger bird, an African Grey named Greycee, landed on top of Kermit's cage. Kermie proceeded to bite her toe through the cage bars, and Greycee bit back. Luckily we heard the scuffle and intervened immediately, but Greycee had created quite the puncture wound on Kermit's upper beak/nares. Normally these two are best buddies, so this was a suprising freak incident. I cleaned off Kermit's beak, but it looked bad and her breathing was shallow and rapid. Birds in respiratory distress can die rapidly. I rushed her to the emergency vet who told me that there was a 4 hour wait to be seen. I told them that Kermit wouldn't last 4 hours, so they agreed to see her immediately (for an additional fee of course) but I had to wait in the car. My already stressed and injured baby had to go into a strange place with strange people without her mom because of Covid. They stabalized her and sent her home for the night. I feared she wouldn't make it until the morning. Luckily, she pulled through the night. I called our vet immediately the next morning. It took several tries. Since you also had to wait in the car while there, and all conversations with the vet were over the phone, their phone lines were constantly busy. I finally got through, but they told me that despite the gravity of her condition there was no way they could get her in that day. Under normal circumstances they could, but with the new covid protocols every minute of every day was totally overbooked. I tried the emergency vet again and they had a 6 hour wait. You had to wait on site in your car too, which I couldn't do with my 4 year old daughter. Since Kermit is a bird, she cannot just go to any vet. There are only 2 avian vets in my area. I took a chance and called the other one and explained the situation. They were able to squeeze us in. Again I had to wait in the car and hand my baby off. She ended up staying the night. The blood from her wound had entered her lungs causing her breathing issues. She had recovered quite a bit by the next day, and the vet even allowed me in with social distancing and masks in order to show me how I needed to hand feed her for the next two weeks until her beak healed. At least because of the pandemic I was working from home at the time, so I could care for and monitor Kermit all day. Within a week she was back to her normal self.
In the fall, our Dog Evie went to the vet because a suspicious lump had grown on her toe. Evie is absolutely terrified of the vet. She is also deaf and has limited vision, so it is harder to comfort her. She needs our touch and our smell for reassurance. Of course, jsut as with Kermit, we could not go in with her. The vet techs had to carry her in because she was shaking so badly in fear. She needed to be sedated to do the biopsy of the lump. The report came back positive for cancer. She had to go back in again to have the whole toe removed as the biopsy had not gotten it all. This time she had to stay nearly all day and be pumped with anxiety meds to keep her asleep until the procedure. It was thankfully successful, but she also needed a follow up visit, so more meds. The whole experience was traumatizing for both our animals and us.
What's even worse is people were treated the same way.

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Pandemic Pets>Veterinary Care & Death

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This item was submitted on July 17, 2021 by Ashley Tibollo using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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