ASK DR. WATTS: We will make it through this; please help your local veterinarians –

The sudden changes in our behavior patterns over the past few weeks are threatening many local jobs and businesses. Politicians have been busy debating the best ways to help, but the people who can make the biggest difference are local consumers.

In this difficult time, please carefully consider how you are spending your money. When you need something, is there a family-owned business where you could make the purchase?

In veterinary medicine, we are fortunate to be in a profession that has been recognized as essential to society. That legal status has blunted the financial impact when compared to some of the other local family-owned businesses. But we have voluntarily postponed elective procedures to conserve valuable medical supplies for human health purposes. We have also slowed client flow through our buildings to protect against the spread infectious disease.

These biosecurity procedures have decreased the number of appointments that can be seen and increased the labor involved with every visit. Finally, like all businesses, veterinary practices have faced increased costs associated with more frequent and thorough disinfection of common areas.

From the beginning of this crisis, one of my practice’s top priorities has been to retain our exceptional employees and to ensure that they continue to receive the paychecks and health benefits that they depend upon.

We also chose to provide additional emergency paid time off to prevent employees from choosing between paying their bills and staying home when they are sick or need to care for family members. To accomplish these goals, we rely upon the support of our clients.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that pet owners choose to purchase their pet medications, food, nutritional supplements, and supplies through their local veterinary practice. Right now, almost all of them are offering curbside service for medications and supply purchases. Most practices also have online stores where you can get free home delivery. Drug manufacturers are doing their part by offering specials and rebates that are available only through veterinary practices.

Many times, you will find that supporting your local practice doesn’t cost you any more than using a big online wholesaler. Sometimes, you can even save money by shopping locally!

If you feed ProPlan pet food, treats, or probiotics, you can buy directly from Purina and they will contribute a portion of the sale to the participating veterinary practice of your choice. Visit to shop with special manufacturer-direct prices. If you don’t feed ProPlan, maybe this is a good excuse to switch.

Some practices also offer their clients exceptional quality, scientifically tested nutritional supplements through an exclusive arrangement with Veterinary Recommended Solutions. You can purchase omega-3 fatty acid supplements, a CBD oil supplement, a unique probiotic blend, a remedy for anal glad issues, and supplements to support joint, liver, or skin health. The veterinarian-owned company also sells high end therapeutic pet food. If your veterinarian participates with this company, you can support your local practice by shopping online at

If your veterinarian offers wellness plans, signing up for one now will help provide cash flow for your local practice now, and will benefit your pet and budget later. Wellness programs provide all recommended preventive care, like vaccines, lab work, and dental care, for a fixed monthly payment. Especially if your pets aren’t due for any wellness care for a few months, signing up now will be helpful to your family veterinarian and you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket when it’s time to go in. To see an example of a wellness plan program, visit

Let’s all work together to protect our community’s physical and economic health.

Continue your social distancing, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and shop locally whenever possible. We will make it through this together.

On behalf of all the area’s veterinarians and our employees, thank you for your support.