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Why is there a shortage of veterinarians right now?

While you might think it's because of the surge in pandemic pet adoptions, reports say that is not the case.

Why is there a shortage of veterinarians right now?

Pet owners might have already noticed that it can be pretty tough to get a vet appointment. While you might think it's because of the surge in pandemic pet adoptions, the American Veterinary Medical Association says that is not the case. 

It says that reports of a surge in quarantine pet ownership are overblown, citing statistics that show shelter adoptions in 2020 were the lowest in five years. Shelters are the number one source of new pets in the U.S., but the shelters took in fewer animals during the pandemic — meaning there were fewer to adopt out.

What the vet association does say is the rate of turnover among veterinarian practice is the highest of any medical field. The veterinarian turnover rate is twice the amount of a physician with around 2,000 vets retiring every year. 

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The top reason given was poor work-life balance. The other reasons were stress and not feeling valued.

The other issue hitting vets right now is the fact many pet owners put off treatments during the pandemic. Now they are trying to catch up. 

That is combined with continued COVID protocols that have decreased the number of appointments a veterinarian can handle in a day. So while demand for appointments has increased, vets are seeing fewer pets per day. All this is making it harder for pet parents to find an open spot.

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