News

CLOSURE: Saturday, September 25, 2021

Due to the extreme staffing shortage we are experiencing, we will be closed Saturday, September 25th. We will reopen with normal business hours on Monday, September 27th

Our staff has been working tirelessly during this shortage to provide your pets with the best care possible.  We thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Should you have an emergency, please contact one of the following facilities:

VRA in Gaithersburg at 301-926-3300
Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Rockville at 301-637-3228
MEAC in Rockville at 301-770-5225

Hospital Update/Boarding Closure

Dear OSSVH Family,

You may have noticed in the past several months that it is difficult to schedule appointments with us on short notice.  You may also have seen extended wait times when you are here, and increased time before calls are returned. We understand how frustrating this is, and we’d like to address some of these current problems and the causes behind them.

As is the case in many industries, the entire veterinary field has faced unprecedented hardship in the last year and a half. To summarize, the number of pets in the country has increased dramatically, while the number of qualified veterinary staff has not. At the end of 2019, pet ownership in the US was already at an all-time high of 54% of the population, but current statistics show pet ownership is now at almost 70%.

This field is no stranger to long hours, crippling education debt, low pay, compassion fatigue and burnout. But the challenges of the past 18 months have added to the stress in an already struggling industry and has led to a mass exodus of veterinary staff from the field itself. We are experiencing an extreme staffing shortage. We are asking for your help in working with us through these hard times.

We are doing our best to accommodate all our OSSVH family, but there are only so many pets we can physically see in a day before patient care will suffer. If we refer you and your pet to an emergency facility, it’s not because we don’t care and don’t want to help. It's because we do not have the staffing available to handle your pet’s critical care, and we feel it is in your pet’s best interests to be seen more urgently.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Wellness exams are being scheduled 6 or more weeks from now. We are doing our best to leave spaces open for urgent medical problems.  Reminders will go out 8 weeks prior to your pet being due and then every 2 weeks after that.  We ask that when you receive your pet’s medical reminders to schedule the appointment as soon as possible to make sure you can get an appointment that works for you.

  • Because of our staffing shortage, technician appointments are very limited. It is helpful if you can schedule follow-up and/or technician appointments at the time of your initial appointment.

  • Please plan ahead for medication refills. If your pet has a week left of medication, it’s time to call for a refill! Prescription refills are taking, on average, 24-48 hours for approval.

  • If you’ve called to speak with a doctor regarding a medical concern, please know that we have seen the message. We must triage return calls, which means the more urgent cases will be followed up with first. If your situation is deemed non-urgent by the medical staff, it may take up to 48 hours for a return call. Please do not be upset if you fall into this category -it means your pet is stable, whereas other pet owners may not be so lucky.

  • Dog and cat boarding services will be suspended until further notice effective September 13th due to our staffing shortage. We are hopeful that we can resume boarding services by the fall and winter holidays, but we cannot take any future reservations at this time.  Please stay tuned; we will let you know as things change.  Let us know if you would like a referral for other boarding facilities.

We love our patients and our clients and we are frustrated when we cannot meet their expectations. Please understand that much of this is out of our control and we are doing the best we can with the resources we have.   Recently, there have been clients who have chosen to take their frustrations out on the staff.  Raising your voice or making demands of them doesn’t help and only adds to an already stressful situation. Please be kind and courteous as they are all working very hard.

Please keep in mind that when appointments are running behind, it usually means that we have had a very sick or urgent patient that was squeezed into an already full day. Please know that we would do the same for your pet if necessary. We do our very best to call ahead and warn clients that we are behind but sometimes it’s just not possible to do so. We understand if you choose to reschedule due to an extended wait time and are more than happy to accommodate you to the best of our abilities.

Conversely, please respect our time as well.  If you miss an appointment, that is a precious time slot that could have been used by someone else.  If you are significantly late for an appointment, we may need you to wait to be seen or to reschedule.

We all chose this vocation because we love animals and their people, and we hate to see either suffer.

To our loyal and wonderful clients, we thank you for your patience as we work through this difficult period and appreciate the love and support that you show us!

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Hoffmann and Denise Sharp

COVID-19 June 21, 2021 Update

We are happy to announce we will have full reopening beginning Monday, June 21st, 2021.  Carside, virtual, and telemedicine appointments are still available for those who wish to use those services.

What will this look like?

All appointment types will be allowed to come in the building with a limit of one person per family.

  • Masks are mandatory for any client entering the building (regardless of vaccination status) and must be worn properly over the nose and mouth.
  • Contactless hand sanitizer dispensers are available in the lobby.
  • Clients will be required to remain seated and will not be permitted to hold their pet during the exam to ensure adequate social distancing.
  • Please be mindful and respectful of others and maintain adequate social distancing while in the lobby.
  • Two people per family will be permitted in the hospital for euthanasia appointments.
  • If children are present and too young to wait in the car – the appointment will remain carside.
  • If anyone in the household has been sick or has tested positive for coronavirus, your appointment will remain carside.

This includes:

  • Doctor's appointments
  • Drop-off appointments (medical problems, sedated procedures, PennHip/OFA, etc.)
  • Surgical admissions and discharges
  • Technician appointments
  • Boarding admissions and discharges
  • Grooming admissions & discharges
  • Medication and food pickups

For those of you who would like to continue with carside doctor's appointments, we are happy to do so and can provide a virtual visit while you wait in your car.  OSSVH is also still offering remote healthcare services with TeleVet. For more information on either of these services, please let us know.

We are still experiencing unusually high call volume. There are multiple ways to get in touch with us without picking up your phone. If you need an appointment or medication refill, you can use our online portal.  You can click here to schedule an appointment or click here to refill a prescription. You can also send us an email or text message at (301) 329-8988. While responses are not immediate, we work very hard ensuring every client gets a response.

Thank you for your continued patience and adaptability during this ever-changing time. We hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and we can't wait to see you.

Telemedicine Services Available!

Olney-Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital is offering telemedicine services with TeleVet! With the TeleVet mobile app you can easily send virtual consultation requests to us whenever your pet is sick or injured.

To get started, download the TeleVet app on the iTunes or Google Play store and create your personal profile and your pets (pictures encouraged!). When you need us, create a consultation request detailing your pet’s issue. Upload any pictures or videos, instant message, and talk with us face to face through a video conference call to help get your pet feeling better again.

Telemedicine consults take the place of certain appointments that do not require examining or performing diagnostics on the pet. In some cases, telemedicine may not be the right option and we will need to see them in the hospital for a physical exam and/or diagnostics.

We look forward to talking with you soon.

*Only available for current Olney-Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital clients and patients who have had an physical exam in the hospital within the last 12 months.

 

 

A new way to pay with Care Credit

Are you planning on paying with Care Credit at your next veterinary visit?  Use the Pay My Provider Feature at: https://www.carecredit.com/pay/QSR993/.  You schedule the payment and Care Credit will take care of sending it to us.  There is no need to have your card present at the time of the transaction.  Have questions?  Ask one of our Client Care Specialists for more information.