The Wait for Veterinary Care - A Must-Read

Most people are waiting more days (or even weeks) to get their pet seen by their veterinarian for routine visits than they did, pre-pandemic.  Other people with pet emergencies wait for several hours – or worse – get redirected to another urgent care facility far away.

Why the backup in vet offices?

  • COVID-related safety measures like curbside care, rotating care teams and other on-site protocols have impacted how many patients can be seen in a day
  • Fewer personnel are working due to COVID infections, quarantines, home care of children, or other reasons
  • Requests for appointments have increased, as noted in the graphic below.  From January to June 2021, there has been a 6.5% increase in booked appointments compared to the same months last year

What can we do about this?

It’s important to be prepared for a pet emergency situation.  Dakin’s Executive Director Carmine DiCenso advised, “Create a list of the veterinarians in your area, call to find out what their current emergency procedures are.  This way you have information prior to an emergency situation.”

He continued, “If an emergency does happen, call all the vets in your area to see what wait times are, and if they are taking emergency cases.  Don’t just drive to the closest vet before calling.” 

Rob Halpin, director of communications at MSPCA Animal Care & Adoption Center in Boston reiterated the importance of calling before driving to a particular location.  The MSPCA takes in as many emergency cases as possible, but if that number becomes too high to treat effectively, clients are redirected to another facility.  “We have a strong network and talk to the other hospitals,” he said, “we keep each other apprised of cases.”

Where to call for after-hour emergencies:


As of 9/23/21 all facilities are accepting emergencies, but are subject to change

  • Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Services (VESH) (Deerfield) 413-665-4911
  • Foster Hospital for Small Animals (Tufts) (N. Grafton) 508-839-5395
  • Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties (Walpole) 508-668-5454
  • MSPCA Animal Care & Adoption Center (Boston) 617-522-5055


As of 9/23/21 all facilities are accepting emergencies, but are subject to change

  • New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care (NEVCCC) (Windsor) 860-688-8400
  • VCA Veterinary Specialists of CT (W. Hartford) 860-236-3273
  • Pieper Veterinary Emergency & Specialty (Middletown) 860-347-8387
  • East of the River Veterinary Emergency Clinic (Bolton) 860-646-6134
  • CT Veterinary Center (W. Hartford) 860-233-8564

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