Veterinary clinics and hospitals across metro Detroit overwhelmed with influx of patients

Posted at 6:47 PM, Nov 04, 2021

(WXYZ) — Veterinary clinics and hospitals across metro Detroit are slammed with a huge influx of patients.

In fact, at some places pet owners have to wait months before their pets can be seen, leaving some owners struggling to find an emergency appointment for their fur babies.

"If you want a spay or anything, or even just shots, you won’t be seen for months. And I mean 4 months or more," said Tiffany Pratt.

Pratt rushed her 9-year-old Lilly to Hurley Cat & Dog Hospital after she gave up on her regular place.

And as the day went by, others had the same story.

"I called 10 places before I called here. They were all booked out for two months, even the emergency places," said Kim Noble.

Noble says it has been a frustrating process, especially with some vet hospitals focusing on triage.

"It's your pet, you are always going to think it's serious, it's like your child," she said.

Noble says it's hard for pet owners to describe their pet’s health over the phone.

"See him first, and then decide if it's that serious or not. Don’t tell me over the phone you can’t see him because it doesn’t sound that serious," she said.

The reason behind this crisis? The pandemic.

Dr. K.S. Murali who has been in the business for over 40 years says since last year, the influx of furry patients has increased because more people adopted pets as a way to tackle boredom.

"By acquiring a pet, sometimes it relieves that loneliness. This has increased the number of kittens and puppies that we are seeing,"said Dr. Murali.

Then the COVID safety protocols have reduced the number of patients who can be seen at a facility per day. At Hurley, they see an average of 40 animals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Because of the pandemic, we don’t want a whole bunch of people huddling in the waiting room, so we are trying to get one person at a time, this is obviously taking up a lot of time," said Dr. Murali.

Another reason for the surge? Michigan’s unusual rainy season.

"We are seeing an increased number of Leptospirosis, heartworm, which is a disease they get from mosquito bites. And fleas have become a big issue due to this time of the year," he said.

As for the solution, Dr. Murali said like theirs, more facilities are switching to walk-ins only and they recommend coming as early as possible and if you have an appointment, don’t miss it.

"I think I’m going to get him in some sort of plan, get some sort of preventative plan going and have it in action, so if anything like this occurs again, I’m ready," said Noble.