Vet shortages limit local pet care options – ABC 6 News

(ABC 6 News) – Local pet hospitals have had to cut their hours of operation as they try to manage industry-wide staffing shortages.

“I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel yet,” said Melissa Maves, director of a local veterinary clinic.

Maves has been running veterinary clinics for eight years and says her vets are burnt out.

“It costs them a lot every time they say, ‘I’m so sorry our schedule is full.’ They want to help every person who calls and every animal that needs us,” Maves said.

While she has seen an increase in the number of people acquiring pets since the pandemic began, she has also seen a decrease in the number of new vets entering the field. The result is that Rochester clinics must refuse pets, even in an emergency.

“We have a capacity. And that capacity is reached by 10 a.m. most days,” Maves said.

“We try not to lose our own staff by overworking them. It’s an incredibly rewarding profession and we’re all in it because we love what we do, but I also don’t think we should be abused,” said practice owner and veterinarian Dr. Christine Vogel. animal health care veterinary hospital. in Rochester.

But Vogel says some patients are frustrated and even angry when they have to wait days to care for their sick animal. If local clinics are full, patients are often referred to clinics in the Twin Cities.

“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” Vogel said.

Dog owner Jaden Conway picked up a stray dog ​​full of fleas, but couldn’t find a safe place to send him. Clinics and shelters refused the puppy.

“They responded, but they couldn’t help me,” Conway said of local clinics. “So they directed me to the sheriff’s department, but they couldn’t help me.”

But, Conway says she trusts her local vet.

“I’m pretty sure he would take her in if she ever got in trouble,” Conway said.

Local veterinarians suggest calling ahead to try to get your pets in early. Addressing medical issues before they become serious can help avoid emergency situations.