The region's veterinary clinics are reporting a "busier than ever" workload after a surge of pet adoptions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Warrnambool Veterinary Clinic lead Glenn Cuzens said across the board, veterinarians in the city, Port Fairy, Koroit and Nullaware clinics were in demand.
"In lockdown people were looking for companionship with a puppy or kitten," Dr Cuzens said. "That meant they had to get them vaccinated, wormed and desexed.
"With people spending more time at home, they found that their 'Fluffy' was not quite right and would bring them in to get checked out. As people weren't able to travel and now still can't travel overseas, it has increased in the discretionary spending on companions.
"The beef and dairy season has been fantastic over the past 12 months. The price of beef particularly has increased and so people are chasing vets to make sure their cattle are alright.
"Everything has meant an increase in our work and we're busier than ever."
While the busy period has been predominately booked by puppies and kittens getting their early check-ups and vaccinations, Dr Cuzens said older pets had also been given more attention.
"Older animals who might have only been exercised two-or-three times a week were suddenly getting walked every day in lockdown," he said. "People noticed more signs of arthritis as a result.
"Also, with people spending more time at home, animal's behavioural changes were an ever-growing area. Now our specialist is starting to see more separation anxiety playing out as people return to work."
Livestock Logic clinic manager Lexie Leonard echoed Dr Cuzens comments and said the Hamilton practice had seen a rise in first time appointments and behaviour consults.
"With Covid, our work has doubled," Dr Leonard said. "In general, we're seeing a lot more new pet owners with puppies.
"A lot of people felt it was a great time to get a pet which is good in some ways and not in others. We've seen a rise in first time or first time in a long time appointments as well as a lot of puppy and behaviour consults."
Dr Leonard said Covid had given people more awareness of their pets and cattle needs.
"We're definitely seeing more sick animals as people have more time with them," she said.
"After the two fantastic agricultural seasons our region has had, we've had a huge increase in our beef and sheep numbers. There's been an influx of people buying in stock from the drought-affected north and a lot more farmers keen to increase cutting edge technology and use herd health strategies."
Livestock Logic has also employed two more veterinarians to help with the increase in work.
"We've had a bit of a staff changeover as well but we've seen an increase work load year-on-year," Dr Leonard said.
"When I started here four years ago there were two full-time vets plus me and now we've got four veterinarians just on the livestock side of things. There's great demand for the industry."
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