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'We love what we do … but it’s just hard’: Pandemic's impact on Indy vet clinics

Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 06:29:43-04

CARMEL — Veterinarians around the country are experiencing burnout and the feeling is no different here in Central Indiana.

A poll released in May by the ASPCA found close to one in five households adopted a cat or dog during the pandemic.

Dr. Mike Graves owns Pet Wellness Clinics. The company has nine locations in and around Indianapolis.

“They’re (vet staff) just tired. We’ve been doing this for close to two years now all the time, every single day and we’re frontline workers like the healthcare industry. We have to be here, we can’t work from home, so it puts a lot of stress on everybody,” Graves said.

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The vet said since the start of the pandemic, appointments are constantly full, and volume has “exploded.” While he said his company has enough vets, he knows other clinics are struggling.

Graves added he is always looking for more staff, as are many other companies in this job market.

The need for vets, vet techs and the like was apparent even before the pandemic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of open vet positions to grow 16% by 2029.

“It’s been a tight employment market for several years, especially on the vet side, but COVID just shot it over the top,” Graves said.

With more Hoosiers heading back to work, Dr. Graves expects the volume to level off. Still, he urges pet parents to be patient and understanding.

“I’m sure it’ll get better, but when is it going to get better? We’ve been saying that for a year. It’s been a tough year,” Graves said.

Within the last year, Pet Wellness Clinics introduced new technology to help staff with the drastically increase client volume. One of the new pieces of technology is a machine to help analyze stool samples and find parasites.

The clinic also has a call center to help get pets and pet parents schedule appointments and seen more efficiently.