Appointment Instructions During Covid-19

Instructions for Appointments


The past two years of Covid-19 has been a challenge for us all! We are now operating at a mostly normal level, with a few exceptions. We have elected to keep curbside check-in for two reasons. First, we are attempting to limit the amount of clients in the waiting room for safety’s sake. Second, we have noticed a drastic decrease in patient stress while waiting in the car as opposed to waiting in the reception area with other pets and clients. For these reasons, we are currently keeping that policy. We are no longer mandating masks for clients or staff. We have been allowing clients (although limited at the time) into the exam rooms since August of 2020 as opposed to full curbside care. We feel that there is too much of a barrier created when not being able to have face to face conversations and information can be lost or confused. We are also fortunate enough to have exam rooms which allow a 6 foot distance between staff and clients.

If you are a new client, please fill out our online registration form HERE if you have not already and email any records you have to [email protected]

Please park out front, stay in your car, and call the clinic to check in at (315) 699-0050.

Doctor Appointments: The receptionist will check you in and will text or call you back when your exam room is ready, informing you which exam room to come into. Please walk into the clinic and go directly into the exam room without stopping. We are trying to limit the amount of people in the waiting room area.

Surgery Drop offs: When you check in, the receptionist will let you know when your exam room is ready.  When instructed, please walk directly into the exam room and the surgical team will review the paperwork with you. Surgery drop off is between 7:15am and 7:30am. Patients should have no food after 9:00pm the night before and water should be taken away the morning of surgery. The surgical team will schedule your pet’s discharge appointment and ask you to call when arrive back at the clinic for that appointment.

Technician Appointments: Please park out front, stay in your car, and call the clinic to check in at (315) 699-0050. The receptionist will check you in and will instruct you when to bring your pet to the waiting area.

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please give us 48 hours notice so that we can open the slot up for another patient. Appointments are very limited due to Covid-19. Recurrent no shows or cancellations not made within 48 hours will result in a deposit being required for any further appointments.  

A note about Appointments: Something that has not changed, is the availability of appointments. This is sadly something that veterinary clinics are struggling with nationally at the moment. Most people do not know that even prior to Covid, there was a shortage of Veterinarians and Licensed Veterinary Technicians. Each year the veterinary classes are smaller and smaller, in part to the crippling expense of veterinary school and the stress of the position. We were fortunate enough to add another wonderful veterinarian to our team in 2020, but it took nearly a year to find one! To compound the issue of less veterinarians, some areas had a high increase of pet adoptions, rescues and foster pets. Additionally, the restrictions that were mandated and put into place for safety during the height of the pandemic (which did not lighten or lift till recently in some places) slowed the pace that veterinary hospitals could work and still provide effective care, decreasing even more appointments. Here in New York, we were mandated to stop all routine care (even heartworm tests and nail trims) from March 23rd till the summer. We also had to limit the amount of staff in the building to comply with safety mandates. Imagine the backlog of patients that needed to be seen for routine care alone.

Where does that put us now? We are two years in after all, aren’t we? Hard to believe but yes, it has been two years since the start of the pandemic. Why are we still having difficulty getting appointments for pets? All the reasons listed above are still affecting us. Increased pets, extended time appointments due to extra steps that have to be done for safety, staff out sick, staff on quarantine, Covid exposures, etc. There was a staff shortage in this industry prior to Covid; after the stress, difficulties and hostility put on veterinary teams across the country in the past two years, people have hung up their scrubs and left this industry in huge numbers. Unfortunately there are very few qualified candidates to replace them, and even less that want to work in a veterinary hospital at the moment due to the high stress.

We want you to be aware of this because we truly understand that is stressful when we are unable to find you an appointment or we ask you to call back and see if there are cancellations. We have tried many times, with many variations (even with the input of other veterinary hospitals who have tried and failed) to keep cancellation lists but they do not work effectively here because things just change so rapidly. Although we do not keep a cancellation list, our receptionists are very in tune with who our most critical patients are and do their best to move things around when opportunity arises. Our experience has been consistent no matter how we tried it that we are constantly unable to get in touch with people on the list, we move on and fill the appointment with someone else only to find that the other people call back and are now angry that the spot was filled. Frequently the spots would end up being left empty because the lists were not effective. We have found the best way to make this work is to use cancellations on a first come first serve basis in the morning. We have spent years perfecting and constantly tweaking our schedule and protocols to ensure that our own patients could be seen. The lingering effects and outcomes of the pandemic have put us in a position where we truly do not have enough spots available and we are doing our absolute best to serve our patients. We continue to research and adjust ways to help as many as possible but we have resource limitations that are very real. There are some veterinary hospitals that do have more availability than us and that can be due to any number of reasons such as serving a smaller clientele or having more doctors on staff. Local emergency clinics are also so overwhelmed that they have been put in the position of turning away non critical cases. Please understand that while other industries have returned to normal, ours has not. We are doing our absolute best to adjust to the “new normal” with the difficulties listed above. Please know that every member of our team is working as hard as they can to help as many pets as possible and we are nearly always double booked (with less staff than normal). Please be patient and kind and do not take out your frustration on the staff. We are truly doing all we can.