‘Exhausted, overburdened and overwhelmed’: pandemic pet growth leaving veterinarians in brief provide

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They have been our staff, therapy animals and constant companions over the course of the pandemic, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide our pets with the best possible care.

“We have a very bad shortage of veterinarians and animal health technicians, registered veterinary technicians in Canada,” said Dr. Enid Stiles, the President of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. “We were already feeling the pressure and having a hard time meeting the needs of all pets that need to be seen. On top of that, we may now be able to see more pets, which adds to the pressure. “

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Visit the local dog parks and you will likely find more puppies joining the mix.

According to Humane Canada, there were 78,000 cats and 28,000 dogs in shelters across the country in 2019. 65 percent of the cats and 73 percent of the dogs were either adopted or reclaimed by their owners.

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“We have certainly seen an increase in the customer base and, consequently, in demand,” said Marina Atkins, veterinary technician and clinic director at Cambrian Animal Hospital in Calgary. “Where we could previously offer our customers two to three days of waiting time for a routine appointment, we now book seven to ten days away. Our surgical plan takes three to four weeks, sometimes longer, to get in. “

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“It doesn’t seem to matter how many [appointments] We save in one day for urgent cases and emergencies. They can be booked before I get on at 9am. for work, ”said Liz Ruelle of the Wild Rose Cat Clinic in Calgary. “We ended up having to triage over the phone and direct customers to emergency clinics. And it’s really nerve-wracking. “

The Wild Rose Cat Clinic is one of several clinics that are no longer accepting first-time customers – a decision that has been frustrated by new pet owners.

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“It hurts when I have to say no,” said Ruelle. “If we say we can’t see your cat in our clinic, it’s because we don’t want to. That’s because we can’t physically or mentally. “

“Everyone feels exhausted, overwhelmed and overwhelmed.”

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According to the CVMA, there are currently about 12,500 veterinarians in Canada. The organization is currently working on ways to increase this number.

“The number of places we have in schools here in Canada just isn’t enough,” said Stiles. “And every seat in a school actually requires some money from the government. And that takes time to get there. In the meantime … we are looking for solutions to encourage people to come to Canada who are licensed veterinarians from accredited colleges and maybe even look for selective opportunities for licensing. “

“They can bring so much happiness and pleasure – so important to people’s mental and physical health, especially now.”

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