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Veterinarian industry experiencing burnout, shortage during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shortage of veterinarians and longer wait times at animal clinics.

News 12 Staff

Apr 28, 2022, 9:53 PM

Updated 783 days ago

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shortage of veterinarians and longer wait times at animal clinics.
“There is a physical toll to it because we’re dealing with big dogs, little dogs, angry cats, tough birds,” says Dr. Benjamin Spitz of Companion Veterinary Hospital of Wayne. “There is an emotional toll also because we’re dealing with, not just puppies and kittens that are always happy, but a lot of sick pets and death and dying.”
Those physical and emotional aspects of the job are taking their toll on the veterinary industry. Axios recently reported that one-third of Americans adopted a pet in the first several months of the pandemic, but also a quarter of veterinarians are quitting annually industrywide – and it's not just the doctors.
“We had a much smaller number of people to see the cases and a much larger caseload, which has continued into now,” says Spitz.
Companion Veterinary Hospital just hired a new veterinarian to help with the caseload, while other offices are extending their hours or days on the work schedule. Everyone is asking the pet owners to have patience.
“We want people to know that’s why we are here – why we got into this,” Spitz says. “One minute dealing with something sad but next patient is a puppy jumping all over you and kissing you and help get through the hard times also.”
Mars Veterinary Health says the United States could see a shortage of nearly 15,000 veterinarians by 2030. The group suggests investing in equity inclusion and diversity initiatives while also offering student debt relief to associates.


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