Tuesday or Wednesday I noticed Oscar shaking his head a bit. That usually means ear mites. The grass has gotten a bit tall, it’s damp in the morning from dew, his ears are long and he’s close to the ground. Speck had ear mite issues often and once it got so bad and he was shaking his head so much that the vet feared he was going to cause himself brain damage. Wednesday night I told Vince I might take Oscar to the vet Thursday if his ears were still bothering him. Thursday morning they didn’t seem to be causing an issue but by Thursday about 3 p.m., he had shaken his head several times in a short time span so I called our vet. They’re booked all the way through next week! The lady said “You can call right at 8 a.m. every morning and see if we have any cancellations.” I told her I really didn’t want to go into the weekend if his ears were bothering him so I’d call around and see if anyone else could see him. She was very nice and it wasn’t her fault . . she just couldn’t make an appointment open up. There are six or seven vets in that office.
I called three more vets and none of them had openings til week after next. I was thinking . . we just drove to Nevada yesterday. I feel like our old vet there would see us tomorrow if he was in town but I didn’t really want to drive 50 miles there and 50 miles back if I didn’t have to.
I checked the vets in Carthage. The first one I called was booked just like the others are. Then . . bingo . . a very nice lady at the second vet’s office told me they were booked til next Friday. I explained that I had hoped to have his ears checked before the weekend but if I had to wait, I’d wait. Next Friday was sooner than anyone else could see him. While talking to the lady at the vet in Carthage, she said “Oh . . here’s a cancellation for tomorrow. Will that work for you?” YES!!
I’m pretty sure there are emergency vets around here, though I doubt ear mites is really an emergency. I don’t think I’ve ever called our own vet in my 40 years of having a dog and not been able to get in the next day . . if not that same day.
As these things always go, last night I don’t think he shook his head once but if I don’t take him to the vet, he’ll be shaking his head like crazy all weekend and I’ll be kicking myself for not taking him in so . . we’ll see the vet this afternoon.
Yes there is definitely a vet shortage. Coworkers are complaining about how far out appointments are and vet clinics that are trying to hire more help around here can’t find anyone to hire.
I had no idea! Maybe I should keep up with what’s going on in the world. No . . all I need to know is what’s happening in the cross stitch world.
Dorothy Matheson says
I actually just read an article about a Vet shortage in the US. The schools are not graduating that many and the ones that do go into practice do not all stay in practice. However the article was about a shortage of Vets for farm animals especially horses. It said that because small animal vets make more money that the ones that start in large animals do not stay there. If I remember right it was by a lady that runs a horse rescue.
That’s not good. What the heck are we going to do with our pets??
I know everything is different but when I got my first dachshund, the vet I used in Lake Charles was one of the most popular vets in town and was always busy. He had one receptionist, a couple of techs and was in a building that had been repurposed from some other business. These days, the vets we’ve gone to recently have huge, fancy, newer buildings, probably 5 or 6 or more support staff for every one vet. I can see how their costs are through the roof.
It’s so expensive to go to the vet. I don’t see how people can afford to have kids and pets these days.
Yes, there’s a vet shortage. It’s been going on since at least the fall of 2020. At that time the emergency vets were turning away patients in the cities (what we call Mpls/St. Paul and suburbs) and people with emergencies were driving 100 miles away to get to see a vet in an emergency.
Serveral of the small, vet owned clinics around me aren’t taking new patients.
Vet school is expensive, and small animal veterinarians don’t make a lot of money. It’s a stressful position, owners yell at vets when the expenses are high or their pets are very ill. There were some articles in the last two years about the high rate of suicide for vets, too.
There’s also a shortage of vet techs, and even groomers. It’s hard to get my dog’s nails trimmed right now.
I had no idea. That’s ridiculous that people yell at vets. When Chad was in high school, he kept wanting a hunting dog and we had no place to keep one. He said “I’ll pay for the dog!” I told him .. paying for the dog is the cheap part – paying for his maintenance and vet bills is what you can’t afford. That was 15 or more years ago and yes, rates have gone up but what hasn’t. I can’t imagine yelling at your vet. I always thought the worst thing they had to deal with was pet moms crying when there was a bad diagnosis.
Hearing all this, now I’ll be worried about what happens if Oscar gets sick or hurt.
In our small community of about 3000 people we have an outstanding vet clinic with FOUR full time vets and one part time vet. They are swamped every single day! In Arizona I struggled to find a vet and did take Emmi to an emergency clinic a few times–very, very pricey!! But I do feel they saved her life when she had her first attack of pancreatitis.
Very glad the emergency vets were there for y’all! That is so scary. It makes me a bit nervous knowing that getting in to see a vet is not as easy as I thought it was.
Theresa Taylor says
I found out that I had to wait four months to see our local vet the next one I called was three months out the third one was an hour away but was only a month wait so I took the appointment.
Now that I know, I’ll plan ahead for the annual visits but those little unexpected visits are going to be real headache.
Sherry Bobak says
Vets, like everything else, are so expensive. I’m a senior on a very small fixed income and I can’t hardly pay for my medical care let alone for my senior dog. Don’t know what I’ll do if she gets really sick. Flea and tick prevention costs more than heartworm pills. Plus vaccines and seasonal allergy medicine. Getting hard to make ends meet.
That’s exactly why I can’t figure out how so many of us can afford to have two dogs. Thankfully now that Rita’s eye situation has been taken care of, we don’t have so many vet bills with her. You’re right . . some chronic or catastrophic pet illness/injury and we would likely have to make a tough decision about how to proceed. And dog food prices! I feel like it’s a little less expensive to make homemade but that’s probably only because I refuse to think about the cost.
I feel that pets are so important – especially to those of us older folks who don’t get out and socialize as much as we once did and it’s sad that many will have to make decisions about even owning a pet because of the costs.
Medical care for animals as well as for humans has gone down the drain in recent years…our neighbors dog had an accident that caused his eye to come loose and he was refused care by two vets…the third was willing to see the pup immediately and he is doing well. My husband needed a stat MRI and after the insurance back and forth was approved and the MRI was scheduled within the week. But the follow up would be in November! Not! My persistence got the follow up 6 days later. What is the United States coming to?
Yes, it’s very hard to watch and for those of us who have a feeling where this is going to end, it’s not pretty.
Judy, if ear mites are issues with dogs like yours, you could have the vet show
You how to clean his ears at home. That way when you start to see him shake his head you could just take care of it yourself. It’s really easy, I always took care of our dogs and cats at the first signs of mites and it never went any further.
Thanks. I need to do that.
I am a vet practicing in Ireland. I treat mainly companion animals and some farm animals. This weekend I am off the second weekend in 3 years. I can not hire a part time vet despite looking for one for month now. I have a locum covering one day. Finally I found another practice in the area, also struggling to fill a vet position and we decided to cover one night a week for the other practice and to share weekends between us 3 vets. Despite it is my weekend off I will go into the clinic shortly to euthanize one of my long term patients who has end stage cancer. I covered every night and weekend 365 days a year and I have not been in my home country for over 3 years now because I can not get cover. Even the locum agencies have no one to cover for a week or 10 days. I have 2 children, a household to run and a small farm at home. My younger daughter who is 8 wants to be a vet. It is a lovely job but I don’t know if I would see her going down that road. But then she offered me that I can go on holidays when she is a vet and can run the practice on her own…
That would certainly be nice to have your own daughter as backup but you’re right – it’s hard to see anyone else going through the rigors and expense of becoming a vet with those kinds of working conditions. I’m sure it’s hard on good vets like yourself to walk away, knowing pet owners are desperate for help, even with your own family and home waiting for you.
I had no idea conditions for vets had become so dire. It must be because there were so many long term established vets where we were in Texas but there were at least 9 excellent veterinarians in our small town. One retired while we were there and one is probably near retiring. There, I could call a vet and almost always be seen the same day so I had no idea about the shortage.
Thank you for doing what you do!