Shortage of vets causing long wait times

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) – Bringing your pets to the vet clinic has become increasingly difficult these days. You want them to get the best possible care, but your vet is either full or not accepting new patients.

William Chastain, MD, is co-owner of Aboite Animal Hospital in Fort Wayne. He says part of the problem came from the fact that COVID shut things down and forced vets to reevaluate their current jobs, but also that more people became pet owners during this time.

“We were limited for a little while in the ability to serve and so that put us a bit behind on that,” Chastain said. “It was also an interesting time when people were quarantining and they were adopting pets, which has obviously been great for our industry and what we like to see, but now we have a supply problem.”

There are only 32 veterinary medical schools in the United States, according to the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, and although Chastain says graduating classes are getting bigger, they still haven’t kept up with demand. current situation, which means new pet owners may have to find another place to go.

“It’s hard to accept new clients because we’re trying to prioritize our current clients and make sure we can bring them in for their needs and we feel like we’re pushing them away more than we’d like.”

Part of the solution? More clinics. The Northern Indiana Emergency and Specialty Veterinary Hospital, or “NIVES,” is opening a new emergency clinic on Saturday, June 25. The clinic’s Dawn Slessman says COVID is when it became apparent they had to do something.

“As everyone started staying home with their pets during COVID, it became increasingly important that those family members got the proper care they needed and we’ve been overwhelmed lately. years. Urgent care is a huge need for animals that are not in critical life-threatening situations, but need attention when their primary is closed,” Slessman says.

So, in the meantime, pet owners are encouraged to talk to their veterinarians about other ways to help their pets, which in turn can help ease the burden on owners and clinics. This can include things like sending photos or videos to your vet, if they’re okay with them, to see if the animal needs to be seen right away or if they can wait.

Chastain says it’s up to the schools to provide quality candidates, but vets should be more of a teacher for students, giving them a chance to see what it’s like to be a vet, hopefully that can attract more vets in the future and keep them in the field.

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