If you’ve recently tried taking your pet to a veterinarian, you know that due to the nationwide shortage of veterinarians, it can be weeks before you get an appointment.
One reason for this shortage is that many people adopted animals during the pandemic, but also because vets and vets have a high burnout rate.
Many veterinarians earn less than half the salary that doctors receive, despite the high training costs.
“The liability is extremely high when you come out as a licensed veterinarian,” said Ashlee Sprague, vice president of the board of directors of Priceless Pets. “The work is extremely hard, the hours are long, the pay is not outstanding.”
The lack of veterinarians leads to an overcrowding of the animal shelters, as animals can only be adopted after they have been neutered or neutered.
“You have about six to eight weeks lead time for a regular check-up for your personal veterinarian, let alone an animal in the shelter,” said Shelley Fonglesong, vice president of the Upland Animal Shelter’s board of directors.
At Priceless Pets in Chino Hills, the full-time vet has a hard time keeping up with demand.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Sprague. “We’re already a cheaper clinic, so for many people we’re the last resort before they bring pets to the shelter for medical reasons.”
Some pet owners who cannot find inexpensive veterinary service resort to abandoning their pets.
“So they’ll choose the cheaper alternative, which unfortunately is euthanasia, or turn it into an animal shelter,” said Sprague. “They’ll let go of it as a stray … Unfortunately, that only increases the intake in the shelters and more pets are euthanized. That’s a big problem.”
She added that pet owners can help by keeping their animals healthy through diet and exercise, and by not clogging veterinary clinics with minor issues.
“Don’t come in for nail clipping or ear cleaning, things that can be done elsewhere,” Sprague said.
If you don’t mind waiting a few weeks for an animal to be neutered or neutered at the shelter, you can help ease the burden at the shelters by taking on NBCLA and Telemundo’s Clear the Shelters campaign, which runs until September 19th. And if you can’t adopt, consider donating to your local animal shelter.