When your pet is suffering from something as alarming as a necrotic wound, you probably don’t expect that you’ll have to call 50 vets and wait for a week before it can be treated. But unfortunately, long waits and short-staffed hospitals are becoming the norm when it comes to veterinary care.
This isn’t a new problem. Staffing was an issue prior to COVID, but things have gotten much worse over the last two years. A combination of older veterinarians retiring, a switch to less efficient curbside service, new clients with “pandemic pets,” and overworked staff departing due to abuse from clients and/or competitive pay in less stressful fields has forced veterinary clinics into perpetual triage. Getting help for problems that are not life-threatening can take days or weeks longer than usual; even emergency care is not guaranteed in some areas. And alarmingly, for both veterinary hospital staff and pet owners, it is likely to be a long time before any semblance of balance between supply and demand is reached – Mars Veterinary Health predicts we will still face a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians in 2030.