EDITORIAL – Shortage of veterinarians at all levels must be addressed
An editorial by New Rothenburger.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT late last week on provincial government subsidies for the education of those wanting to become veterinarians is good news for the agricultural industry but doesn’t look like it will do much for pet owners.
Education Minister Selina Robinson said the government will provide $21.8 million over three years to subsidize students who train to be vets at a veterinary medicine college in Saskatchewan.
Basically, it provides some permanency and expansion to an existing program. It will allow for 40 B.C. students intending to practice here at home to get their doctor of veterinary medicine degrees.
But while the headline on a government news release states “More veterinarians coming for B.C. pet owners, farmers,” the emphasis is on large-animal care, with pets getting scant attention.
The government needs to recognize that there is a critical shortage of veterinarians for both large- and small-animal care right now. Kamloops pet clinics are so short of vets due, in part, to burnout and turnover, which creates a snowball effect on the numbers, that after-hours emergency care has been abandoned by a number of them.
As a result, pet owners whose dogs or cats are badly injured or in need of other immediate attention can find themselves having to drive to Kelowna, which might be too late.
There’s hope on the horizon on that score, with efforts being made to establish a new emergency clinic here within the next few months. That will certainly bring a loud cheer from owners who have spent the last year worrying about it.
Emergency service is the tip of the iceberg. The extension of subsidies for study is certainly welcome. However, a comprehensive plan needs to be in place that goes beyond that, including recruitment of more vets for B.C. from outside the province and the country.
In many ways, the shortage of vets parallels the doctor shortage. It needs to be addressed with much the same determination.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a retired daily newspaper editor and has served as mayor of Kamloops, chair of the Kamloops school board, and TNRD director. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The latest is, people don’t want to train in veterinary medicine or in many other fields…they just want UBI.