Some pet clinics in Treasure Valley are facing a shortage of veterinarians

“Virtually all practices in the region are reserved. So customers are trying to get in and they normally could straight away, but it takes weeks to get in.”

BOISE, Idaho — If you’ve recently taken your pet to the vet, you may have noticed a longer wait time. The delay is due to the fact that some veterinary clinics are facing a shortage of veterinarians. Dr. Michael Marshall is a veterinarian with Boise Animal Health and Urgent Care.

Marshall said that right now in Treasure Valley, there is a dire need for veterinary services to meet the demand. He also said the Boise clinic is actively working to recruit, but isn’t having much luck yet.

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“Almost all of the area’s workouts are sold out,” Marshall said. “So customers try to get in and they normally could straight away, but it takes weeks to get in, so they come to places like us or West Vet or All Valley, which have very long wait times and The real bottleneck, I guess, is just the number of vets.

At Ada Animal Hospital in Boise, Dr. Jennifer Norman is the owner of the facility, but she told KTVB that she is also the only veterinarian at the moment. Norman said this shortage has been going on since 2020 when the pandemic started.

On average, she sees between 40 and 45 patients a day, but due to the shortage some clients are seeing longer wait times and in some cases she refers pet owners to emergency centers or they do a triage. So, what is behind this scarcity?

“I think that’s the number of vet graduates we have, but I think a lot of that is really more on the vet burnout side of things,” Norman said. “It can be exhausting and it takes this mental toll on the vets and we’re also seeing a huge burnout problem in the vet profession. So vets want to go part-time, they want to, you know, reduce the hours of emergency just because of the heartbreak it can bring and the toll and stress it can take.

At Companions Animal Hospital, the biggest challenge they face right now is finding and keeping quality support staff, according to owner Tyson Miller.

KTVB contacted 10 other veterinary clinics and hospitals in the Treasure Valley. Although not all of the businesses responded Thursday afternoon, Banfield Pet Hospital, Northwest Animal Hospital and Bench Animal Hospital told KTVB, they, too, are facing a shortage of veterinarians.

All of the vets KTVB spoke to ask pet owners to be patient with them, and they apologize for the extra wait time.

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