GARDEN CITY, Idaho – According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average number of appointments made from 2019 to 2020 increased 4.5%, then increased 6.5% during the same period in 2021.
While the demand for pet care has increased, the number of licensed veterinarians has not increased and most practices are not working as they were before the pandemic
WestVet 24/7 Animal Emergency & Specialty Center says population growth and the number of people who have new pets have been difficult in the face of declining staff.
Over the past 18 months, WestVet says they have increased by around 40% to 50% in terms of workload. Combined with a national shortage of veterinary personnel, the critical community resource is feeling the pressure.
âWe saw an increase in the number of positions we had to try to fill, but also a shortage of candidates to fill those positions,â said Medical Director Dr Dan Hume.
According to their website, WestVet currently has over 30 open positions.
âWe were probably at our near capacity for the profession by the time COVID hit,â Dr. Hume said. He added that the growth of Treasure V has added almost 40% to 50% of new patients to their clinic. Combined with a staff shortage, workflows were impacted and strained.
âYou took a system that was running near full capacity at the time and put more patients into that workflow. I think there are a number of people in our profession who are burnt out and suffer from compassion fatigue and all the other things that come with a very stressful job, âsaid Dr Hume.
So if you bring your pet, you will be asked to wait in your car and they have options for the owners while they look after your pet. Dr Hume says the wait time depends only on the time of day. Sometimes it can be quick, other times you can wait for hours.
âWe had to lighten up customers with our halls, so we don’t allow customers into our building primarily for the safety of not only the public but also our team members, as we can’t afford to lose people in our building. cause of the disease and this translates to alerted workflows and longer wait times for our customers, âsaid Dr Hume. “I think we try everything we can and we want to be able to help people with their pets, but sometimes it takes us a little longer than in the past.”