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Veterinarian and vet technician shortages felt industry-wide

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Posted at 7:34 PM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 19:34:03-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Like many industries, veterinarian clinics are having a hard time hiring qualified candidates. On top of that, they are also seeing an increase in demand for their services since more people than ever are choosing to add a furry friend to their family.

"We have definitely seen an increase in both current clients with new pets and we've had a lot of new clients and a lot of them have said it's been hard to find a vet to get them in,” Dr. Christopher Robinette the Head Vet at Geist Pet Wellness Clinic said.

That increase in demand comes at a time when the industry is seeing a shortage of both vet techs and veterinarians themselves.

"We are not immune it's across the board we are struggling to find applicants because of just the way the job market is right now," Robinette said.

According to a study by Mars Veterinary Healt,nearly 41,000 additional veterinarians will be needed to meet pet care needs by 2030.

Dr. Jim Wiseman the assistant dean for clinical education at Purdue Universities College of Veterinary Medicine says to fill that need he says the industry will likely need to utilize the training of support staff at vet clinics.

"Utilizing and strategizing their efforts will help in the need for helping veterinarians see more patients and therefore be more efficient in our day-to-day work and that will address some of this work fall shortage," Wiseman said.

But pay for veterinarian techs and nurses is also an area those in the industry say needs to be addressed.

"Certainly, on the veterinarian nursing or technician side pay has not caught up to where it needs to be today," Wiseman said.

However, veterinarians like Dr. Robinette say that looking at ways to make becoming a veterinarian more affordable could be another solution to the shortage.

"Student loan forgiveness is probably the biggest thing,” Robinette said. “Veterinarians come out with as much debt as human medical doctors and we get half or a fraction of the pay. So, you come out and you are a quarter million dollars in debt it takes a big emotional toll. “

According to the expert we talked to from Purdue starting pay has increased for veterinarians however he says the industry does need to work on creating a better work-life balance and providing vet professionals with mental health resources. While the shortage is being felt across the country rural communities are facing the largest shortages.