Animal hospitals see increase in appointments


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Unlike other healthcare systems, check-ups and emergency visits have not slowed down at local animal hospitals.

“When the quarantine hit, all of us were really kind of bracing for things to slow down and quite honestly the opposite happened,” Dr. Andrea Pennington, Associate Veterinarian at River Oaks Animal Hospital explained.

Dr. Pennington and other doctors at River Oaks Animal Hospital are getting more appointments than expected.

“On a normal daily basis, I mean, we probably get anywhere between about 10 to 15 new clients just calling in,” Manny Quinones, River Oaks client advocate said.

In March, the hospital transitioned to curbside services, mostly allowing only pets inside for treatment, with a few exceptions.

Doctors here say providing curbside service is safe and convenient for those who still want to keep their four-legged family members healthy during the pandemic.

But the trend has proposed new challenges.

“Doing curbside service – so, where we’re essentially bringing the exam room to the client’s car and having to do things in that way- it’s been a bit of a challenge because we don’t have the owner right there with us the entire time,” Dr. Pennington explained.

Not only does curbside care separate the pet from it’s owner, it also prolongs the time of an exam.

Clients at River Oaks expressed how they enjoy the convenience of sitting in their car during appointments, but the services are expected to only last through the pandemic.

“A huge part of veterinary medicine is actually a triangle relationship between the veterinarian, the patient and the parent,” Dr. Pennington said. “It’s a three-way relationship and not being able to be with the parent at the time of the exam really challenges that.”

Other local animal hospitals who have also switched to curbside care have been busy since the pandemic. River Oaks plans to continue services as long at it is necessary.


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