Veterinarians across the United States and Canada have an increasing number of patients who require an animal-focused veterinary clinic to help them treat their pets, but they’re often struggling to find them.
A new survey from the Veterinary Medical Association of America found that nearly half of veterinarians surveyed have either been contacted by a client or heard of a potential client in need of an animal clinic.
Veterinarians, however, have been reluctant to share their experiences with the media because they want to protect their jobs, said Dr. Karen O. Cone, executive director of the association.
She added that the stigma of animal care can have a devastating effect on many vets.
Veterinarian Sarah L. Smith, M.D., a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Maryland, said that many vets who are seeking help for their pets feel they are doing something wrong and may feel they need to take it to the next level.
“You have vets who feel like they need help, they need this, and it’s a scary place to be,” Smith said.
Smith also noted that veterinarians are often concerned about the safety of their animals.
Many veterinarians have to be present when a client is at their veterinary clinic, which can lead to a lack of communication between the vet and the client.
Veterinary clinics are not a substitute for a veterinarian.
They should be a part of a patient’s daily routine, not a last resort, said Mary Ann Zagaria, president of the American Veterinary Medical Society, which represents more than 1,000 veterinarians.
If a client has a specific medical condition, the vet should be able to explain how to care for it, she said.
“There is a lot of good veterinary care that can be done for animals without a vet, and we should be looking for alternatives.”
Veterinary medicine is a complex field, said Zagarians Dr. Christine M. Gresham and Dr. Laura A. Czarnow.
“The best way to address the need is to address it with people,” they said.
Veterans have been vocal about their concerns, particularly about the lack of resources and training in veterinary medicine.
The survey found that many veterinarians, who make up only about 4 percent of the veterinary profession, believe the veterinary community is poorly equipped to treat their needs.
Veterinic medicine is in need because of the current state of veterinary science, said Cone.
It is important that veterinans understand the basics of animal medicine, which includes proper care of animals, she added.
For many vets, the best way for them to address their animal-related concerns is to go to a veterinary clinic.