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

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