Animal ER visits up an ‘extreme amount’

Updated: Dec. 24, 2020 at 5:15 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Many people have gotten animals to keep them company this year during the pandemic and with more time spent at home with those animals, pet parents notice everything.

From skin allergies to ear infections, Dr. Stevie Aitken said there’s an “extreme amount” of emergency room visits.

Aitkens said veterinarians who practice during the day have been overwhelmed with patients.

“In the past, it might not have been a true emergency but because it’s more difficult to get into your local, general practitioner right now, they’re rolling over to the ER,” she said.

At times, the staff must vet the waiting room.

“Sometimes, you might run into us triaging patients and really evaluating what’s life or death first before we get to an ear infection or a broken toenail,” she said.

Before rushing to the emergency room, Aitken suggests calling your veterinarian first to seek their advice. She said telemedicine is also increasing, so a FaceTime or Zoom call might suffice.

If you think your pet has swallowed something harmful, call the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661.

As we approach the Christmas holiday, Aitken also suggests making sure your pet’s microchip contact information is up-to-date.

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