Breaking News
More () »

Animal clinics in Hampton Roads overwhelmed from influx of new patients

A Portsmouth animal clinic is seeing an increase in patients and feeling the need for more doctors.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Hampton Roads animal hospital is asking for patience next time you make a call to your local clinic. A veterinarian manager said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in adoptions but now they are having a hard time keeping up with the number of patients.

A puppy named Tucker was adopted during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tucker’s owner has noticed some changes at their animal clinic in Portsmouth.

“It’s the busiest I've seen it right now. I don't know if it's the time but it's pretty busy right now,” said Client Holly Juba.

The Churchland Animal Clinic’s Practice Manager Heidi Todd believes the pandemic caused more people to adopt. But now it's one of the reasons clients and their furry friends have to wait longer to see a vet.

“If we are seeing you as a new patient or new client wait times are between two to three weeks. A current client on some levels are also waiting for their annuals for two to three weeks. We're trying to see more critical patients at this time,” said Todd.

Todd said her office was forced to cut their working hours. Now she is voicing the need for more staff in the veterinary medicine industry.

“We have a huge lack of doctors and veterinary technicians. Those two are a main heartbeat within the hospital,” said Todd.

Now, Todd said she’s doing everything she can to motivate her team to stay positive during these trying times.

“And so I actually wrote out thank you notes and posted them on the wall. So that everyone can walk by and know that they are appreciated and why they are appreciated,” said Todd.

She is also asking her clients to keep calm.

“I'm really quite honestly sorry we can't get you in as quickly as possible. We are doing our very best. But everybody needs to have patience and be kind and remember to call early,” said Todd.

Todd said her staff at this clinic are seeing up to 30 patients per doctor a day compared to 15 patients before the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Author's Note: The video below is on file from March 23, 2020.