A recent US pet ownership study by American Pet Products Association (APPA) confirms pandemic-led growth. In 2020, pet ownership in the US rose from 67% to an all-time high of 70%. We went from approximately 85 million pet owners, to 87.55 million pet owners (an increase of 2.5 million pet owners) in just 1 year. $31.4 billion was spent for vet care in 2020. It is estimated an additional BILLION dollars will be spent on veterinary care in 2021 for US pet owners. In 1988, the first year the survey was conducted, only 56% of US households owned a pet.
This has created a dramatic increase in pets that need to be seen by veterinary clinics. We make every effort to get pets seen as soon as possible, especially for sick patients. Unfortunately, there may be times when your pet is not able to be seen as soon as we would like. We would like to discuss realistic and “unrealistic expectations”, and what has been occurring. We also need to address the toll it is taking on our empathetic team and provide notice to everyone that these kinds of demands will not be tolerated.
We understand you are worried about your pet. Please know we are trying our best to get your pet seen as timely as possible. The choices in this scenario of limited availability are to take the first available appointment, request to be on the cancellation list, and/or go to the emergency clinic. An “unrealistic expectation” example in this circumstance would be if the client refuses all options and makes demands to be seen sooner than our schedule will allow.
Another example is if a client calls to refill a prescription and the pet is overdue on a wellness exam, the veterinarian may require an exam before refilling. We will inform the client that a wellness visit is required before the refill will be authorized. Arguing with our staff and demanding a refill will not be acceptable, and may be grounds to terminate our business relationship.
The final, common example of an “unrealistic expectation” is if a client is significantly late for their appointment or does not show. The client may be informed the appointment will need to be rescheduled and for no-shows, prepayment may be required. The choice will be to reschedule at that time or not. Demands at the front desk to be seen immediately are not acceptable.
We are committed to dealing with all clients fairly and impartially and to providing a high standard of service. However, we do not expect our staff to tolerate behavior by clients which is clearly unacceptable and may take action to protect our staff from that behavior. In situations where a client is clearly demonstrating unacceptable behavior to a staff member, we will support the employee to protect themselves from physical and/or emotional trauma.
Abusive, threatening language will result in immediate termination of service.
Animal Health Clinic has a duty to ensure the safety, emotional well-being and welfare of our staff. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone at any time.
We’d like to genuinely thank our many loyal and compassionate clients. Thank you for your support and understanding.