GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The rise in the number of pets in the wake of COVID-19 is putting a strain on the veterinary industry, causing a shortage of veterinarians in the United States.
“Overall, a recent study found that the U.S. will have a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians by 2030,” said Dr. Ryan Carpenter of Family Friends Veterinary Hospital.
In accordance with mars veterinary health researchthe stress is not expected to ease anytime soon.
Today, there are approximately 116,000 practicing veterinarians in the country, with nearly 2,000 retiring each year.
“Some of the vets have left, moved away from the future profession to take up other roles or work from home, so that played into that,” Dr Carpenter said. “We have a female-dominated profession, which I think is a great thing, but a lot of them go off to have families, so while they’re raising families, there’s a shortage. Our vet schools haven’t added vets, so there hasn’t been an increase in class size over the past few years, which makes a difference. Also, the high debt-to-income ratio, I think, has turned a lot of people away from veterinary medicine, while what we call burnout and burnout is just the emotional stress of being a veterinarian,” he said.
Family Friends Veterinary Hospital in Grand Rapids said they are actively hiring.
“We haven’t seen a shortage of vets in Michigan, mainly because we have a veterinary school in Michigan, so that helps. There’s definitely a general shortage, and it affects all veterinary clinics,” Dr. Carpenter said. “To give you an idea of how dramatically things have changed, I graduated from vet school 11 years ago and when we graduated, there were 18 students in my class who didn’t have a job. Now it wouldn’t be unusual for people to have a job in their second or third year of vet school, so they’re in high demand,” he said.
To help with appointments, Family Friends has created an urgent care with extended hours to help pet owners get their furry friends the care they need.
You can find more information or make an appointment their website.