BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) – Pet owners are facing high wait times at animal hospitals and clinics that are understaffed and overwhelmed. News 8 got a look at how Connecticut veterinarians are getting by with more pets in need of their care.

“It’s an interesting time for sure. [I’m] just glad I’m still able to get medical care [for my dog],” said Kyle Constable, Bloomfield dog owner.

Kyle adopted his dog, Pheobe, last year. It’s a decision many families also made during the pandemic.

“It took a toll. I live in a studio apartment by myself. To have Pheobe as a constant companion has changed my life in ways I can’t describe,” Constable said.

Constable brings Phoebe to the Bloomfield Animal Hospital for medical care. When she goes in, he waits in the parking lot, which is their curbside waiting room.

“It was something we never anticipated,” said Dr. Andrea Dennis.

The high volume of new patients has been overwhelming, according to the animal hospital’s owner, Dr. Andrea Dennis. It’s been even worse for her friends in the field that offers emergency care.

“People there are waiting 8, 10, 12 hours in the parking lot to be seen at an emergency hospital,” Dr. Dennis said.

Dr. Dennis says they’ve been booking routine appointments three to four weeks out. With a limited staff, they can’t afford to have anyone out with COVID.

“If one of my staff gets [COVID], then they are out for a week and then they could expose it to another person,” Dr. Dennis said.

On top of COVID-19 concerns, burnout among veterinarians has been a problem long before the pandemic.

“We have a high percentage in terms of suicides in the veterinarian field, so mental health, we’ve been concentrated on that for over a decade,” Dr. Dennis said.

According to CDC studies, one out of six veterinarians has considered suicide. Researchers found that the profession is losing over $1 billion in revenue annually because of burnout.

At Bloomfield Animal Hospital, they’re still able to meet the higher demand of pets that need treatment, but they’re hiring to meet the increasing need. The staff says the career continued to be very rewarding.