Reality Behind the Huge Demand for Veterinarians in the US

If you’re a pet owner, you’d know and understand how there has been an increasing demand for veterinary services whichever state you’re in. But the concern is that there has also been a lingering problem on veterinarian shortage, which has been further heightened by the pandemic.

When the pandemic boomed, there was a surge in pet adoptions and purchases as many Americans were looking for companionship in the midst of the quarantine and self-isolation situations. Many who worked from home also wanted to own a pet now that they have more time to spend indoors. However, with the increasing number of pets across the country, there is also a rise in the need for veterinary care.

Do pet owners realize this problem? This nationwide issue has catapulted the problem of veterinary staffing, with more and more veterinary practitioners choosing to leave the profession because of possible stress and burnout. And if many are retiring, that means there are fewer veterinary professionals available.

At Northway Veterinary Hospital alone, the past two years have seen a lot of its staff retire or leave because of the volatility and pressure put on the profession. “The COVID pandemic has really led a lot of our staff to rethink about their mental health and wellbeing after having been in the emergency care for so long. The demand, pressure, and stress of it all can really take a toll on anyone in the field,” shared Ciera Earl, NVH’s Practice Manager.

It is said that an estimated shortage of close to 7,000 veterinarians is causing issues for both pet owners and veterinary clinics across the US.[1] It’s been in the news that there is nearly not enough doctors to meet the increasing demand for pandemic pets.

Shift on Focus

More and more veterinarians have also chosen to specialize in particular fields of animal medicine like neurology, radiology, and oncology, giving way to more clinics raising prices for services offered. However, in the Northeast New York region, many are still looking for emergency and critical care services that are available especially when their usual veterinary practices are closed.

Workforce Reality

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while there is a continued demand for veterinary professionals, there are fewer people actually entering the profession[2] while the American Veterinary Medical Association has said that in the next decade or so, many of those practicing in the veterinary industry are expected to retire, paving way for the need for more veterinarians and other practitioners in the industry.

Scaling Down of Operational Hours

As much as many veterinary clinics would like to accommodate the influx of pet patients, many have already implemented strict appointment schedules to ensure safety as communities across the country navigate through the pandemic. There has then been a growing need for more emergency clinics that operate 24/7.

However, because of staffing problems, many veterinary practices that have been hit hard have had to cut down on operational hours and scale down some services offered. This has impacted so many consumers across the country with emergencies and concerns regarding their pets.

Immediate Solutions

It is advisable for pet owners to find options for their primary veterinarians and to also already have a backup plan of at least two emergency clinics near them for times when their pets experience something and will need to be rushed to an emergency veterinary clinic.

If you are unsure about how to go about with certain things regarding your pet, you can contact us at Northway Veterinary Hospital and we’ll do our best to help you.

You can access the latest news and announcements from our Facebook page and our Instagram account.


[1] Veterinarian Shortage being felt in Northeastern Ohio and nationwide, https://www.wkyc.com/article/life/animals/veterinarian-shortage-in-the-united-states/95-5f222d3d-7c0d-4801-b289-9f1294154634

[2] Quick Facts on Veterinarians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinarians.htm

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