Pet owners struggle to find veterinary care

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Shealyn Paulis’s puppies cuddle around their mother only a few days after they are born.

“Before COVID-19 I could schedule a vet appointment with ease, but now they’re booked months in advance. If something happens to my cats I’m afraid I’ll have to pay thousands at an emergency vet.” 

Cat owner Jenna McQueer has had these fears since the lockdown that occurred in March. Vets around her were either closed, or accepting only pets in need of emergency help.

Most vets in Michigan are in high demand, and some are unable to accept new clients because of this. The Michigan State University Small Animal Clinic is accepting only pets that are deemed an emergency, and stable pets are referred to their primary care veterinarian. 

Because of  these protocols, dog mom Shealyn Paulis was unable to get her two pitbulls spayed and neutered because it was not considered emergency surgery. Two months later, her dog became pregnant and now she has nine puppies to take care of. 

“It’s been really hard having the puppies, especially since I already have three dogs,” said Paulis. “I’ve spent over $3,000 on vet bills and medical emergencies related to the pregnancy and post-partum.”.

Cat owner Brandi Wilson has had a similar experience with vets in Kalamazoo, as none are accepting new clients. 

“Thankfully, Waldo is up to date on all of his shots and hasn’t had any problems, but I haven’t been able to get his nails trimmed because of this,” said Wilson. “But if something did happen to him I don’t know what I’d do. I’d have to travel over an hour and hope that an emergency vet has space for him.”

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