The number of animals in care has exploded in the past five years.
The veterinary clinic at Rowlett Veterinary Hospital is no exception.
The facility’s veterinarian is one of those vets who sees more than 1,000 animals each day.
“We’ve got over 1,400 animals that come in daily,” said Dr. Jason Williams.
He said veterinarians have noticed an increase in patients who are not vaccinated for certain diseases, like the flu.
“The flu, that’s one thing, but then also other conditions, like a respiratory infection, a viral infection, and then we’ve also seen an increase of dogs and cats that are also receiving vaccinations,” Williams said.
There’s also a surge in dog owners.
The medical center is one reason veterinarians are getting so many calls from pet owners asking about pet vaccines.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Williams added.
“We get almost one-third of the dogs that come through that door, or two-thirds, or three-quarters, that come with pet vaccinations.”
Williams said pet owners are increasingly using their pet’s vaccinations as a way to protect themselves from the flu, which is transmitted by biting and sniffing.
He’s also seeing an increase among dogs and cat owners, as well.
“I think that’s an indication of the increased number of people, the increased awareness of the flu,” he said.
“This is an epidemic and I think we’ve had some very important public health messages being delivered in the last few years,” Williams continued.
The health department recently issued a warning about the spread of the pandemic, and urged pet owners to take their pets to a veterinarian within 24 hours of symptoms.
The veterinary clinic’s vet has been vaccinated in the previous six months.
Williams said it’s important to remember to not assume pets are the only ones who need vaccinations.
“When you see someone who’s got an acute cough or a fever, they’re not going to be the only one, but we can do our best to vaccinate as many of the animals as we can,” he added.
Williams and the veterinarians who work at the veterinary clinic are also helping people who need help getting vaccinated.
“Some of our patients that have come in for vaccinations are on Medicaid, some of our other patients that are Medicaid-eligible patients,” he explained.
“So they’ve come in and gotten vaccinations and they’re in the process of being able to get a diagnosis of influenza, which we can help them to get,” he continued.
Williams says he and his colleagues are seeing an increasing number of patients with other diseases and conditions who come in with respiratory illnesses and allergies.
“That’s a really exciting part of the business, is to get them to the vet that’s going to take care of them, the vet, the antibiotics, the antiviral medication, the allergy medicine,” he stressed.