An Open Letter to the Community

We know how difficult the last year and a half has been on you, especially for those of you who in addition to everything else, also experienced a sick or injured pet, or the loss of a beloved companion. The intent of this letter is to inform you of what is happening in the veterinary world so you have greater understanding should you need to visit us.

For a few reasons right now, demand for veterinary care is at unprecedented levels. When the world first sheltered in place, people noticed more of their pet’s behavior during the day, but avoided unnecessary trips like veterinary well visits. A few months in, there were more pet health issues identified, some of which progressed to more serious conditions, and a backlog to visit general practices. In addition, general practices had to adapt, sometimes closing or limiting caseload for weeks at a time. All of this led to more cases coming to NorthStar VETS.

The pandemic also forced veterinary hospitals to find completely new and less-efficient ways to serve patients and clients. Emphasizing safety over speed, curbside protocols had the negative side effects of increased phone call volume, less face-to-face contact, and slower-than-normal processes. That reduction in efficiency, combined with greater demand, suddenly made us short-staffed. Unlike other service industries, the people we hire are highly-trained medical professionals, difficult to find under normal circumstances. In spite of all this, we worked tirelessly, never closing our doors, to simultaneously serve patients and clients, improve processes, and scale up our team.

By the one-year mark of the pandemic, the general public was in a worse place than they were before. Politically, socially, and attitudinally divided, people’s emotional exhaustion and anxiety were overwhelming, and their patience wore thin. When starting from that place, the stress of a suddenly sick or injured pet combined with long wait times at the emergency clinic wreaked havoc on our interactions with clients. Our team, already suffering from overwork and the emotional toll of handling many tough cases, were further demoralized by inconsiderate comments, online posts, and poor treatment by some of the people they helped. As a result, the veterinary industry has never had more people leave the jobs they love, never to return, making worse a short-staffed situation.

Even though the world changed, our commitment did not. NorthStar VETS is still a team of dedicated professionals committed to improving quality of life for patients, clients, our referring veterinary hospitals, and each other. When you come to one of our locations, know that we are operating under extremely difficult circumstances, but will give you and your pet our very best care. Please arrive with the knowledge that wait times are greater, but we are still here for you and your pet. We appreciate you and your patient understanding.

The Grateful Staff of NorthStar VETS

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