Nationwide veterinarian shortages causing longer wait times for vet services


Peoria (WEEK) – Illinois, much like the rest of the country, saw a shortage in veterinarians.

Many veterinary clinics had to close for a day or open for half days due to the staff shortage. This spread to not only veterinarians, but also other veterinary staffing.

“We have some areas right now in Illinois that still do not have a veterinarian, and feel that our residents of the state are underserved,” President of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association Colleen Lewis said.

Lewis said one reason for the shortage was there weren’t as many people graduation from vet school as there were retiring.

“The outgoing veterinarians and the incoming veterinarians haven’t been enough to replace the ones leaving. Also to help the demand that we’re going through right now,” Lewis said.

The Prairie Animal Hospital experienced the effects of the shortage, they were booked out almost two week for preventative treatments.

“Last year at this time we stopped taking new clients because we were so overwhelmed,” Prairie Animal Hospital Veterinarian Rachel Kuhn-Siegel said.

A restrictions for COVID-19 have lessened for the animal hospital managed their clients better, but finding help was still difficult.

“On average it takes a year to get a new veterinarian or to get a technician hired and trained up to where they need to be,” Kuhn-Siegel said. “It used to only take us four months to find a new vet, it will now take us a year to two years.”

Until the hospital could find the staff they needed, they did the best to accommodate their clients needs. They prioritized animal emergencies while they scheduled out less severe procedures.

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