Shortage of vets affecting animal shelters and clinics in central Florida


If you’re a pet owner, you may have noticed that it’s more difficult to book an appointment with the vet. Some clinics are not accepting new patients while others are booked for weeks. Veterinarian Dr Alex Emerson explained why. “There are very few vets and staff available,” Emerson said. Emerson recently took over Casselberry Animal Clinic which has been serving companion animals and their families for decades. But finding new help is difficult. “I’m struggling to find more people, and I have enough work for at least one more vet, probably one and a half more vets,” Emerson said. Part of the problem is burnout and high turnover. The veterinary field is another industry feeling the impact of the Great Resignation. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average turnover rate for a veterinarian is 17%, twice that of a doctor in private practice. “Imagine the stress of caring for a loved one, but not the salaries of doctors and nurses. We are under the same stress to do the right thing, to provide good patient care,” Emerson said. “But the truth is we’re still not really paying better salaries because there just aren’t many out there.” While vets are in short supply, demand is on the rise. “A lot more owners are coming to take care of their animals, maybe better than they ever have because in some cases I think they have more money than they had in the past,” Emerson said. “The world has changed a bit and people are taking care of themselves in a different way than they were two years ago and they are definitely taking better care of their pets.” So while Emerson is happy to see families loving their pets more, he also hopes to find more help soon. “We do it out of love,” Emerson said. To juggle the demand, Clinique Animalière de Casselberry is now trying to leave small blocks open in their schedule for long-time clients who have pets with acute problems.

If you’re a pet owner, you may have noticed that it’s more difficult to book an appointment with the vet.

Some clinics are not accepting new patients while others are booked for weeks. Veterinarian Dr Alex Emerson explained why.

“There are very few vets and staff available,” Emerson said.

Emerson recently took over Casselberry Animal Clinic which has been serving companion animals and their families for decades. But finding new help is difficult.

“I’m struggling to find more people, and I have enough work for at least one more vet, probably one and a half more vets,” Emerson said.

Part of the problem is burnout and high turnover. The veterinary field is another industry feeling the impact of the Great Resignation.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average turnover rate for a veterinarian is 17%, twice that of a doctor in private practice.

“Imagine the stress of caring for a loved one, but not the salaries of doctors and nurses. We are under the same stress to do the right thing, to provide good patient care,” Emerson said. “But the truth is we’re still not really paying better salaries because there just aren’t many out there.”

While vets are in short supply, demand is on the rise.

“A lot more owners are coming to take care of their animals, maybe better than they ever have because in some cases I think they have more money than they had in the past,” Emerson said. “The world has changed a bit and people are taking care of themselves in a different way than they were two years ago and they are definitely taking better care of their pets.”

So while Emerson is happy to see families loving their pets more, he also hopes to find more help soon.

“We do it out of love,” Emerson said.

To juggle the demand, Clinique Animalière de Casselberry is now trying to leave small blocks open in their schedule for long-time clients who have pets with acute problems.

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