The Large Animal Vet Shortage: Canada is Modernizing
The Alberta and Saskatchewan governments are listening to veterinarians across Canada requesting assistance to ease the burden of their workload. Exacerbated by the limited seats at veterinary schools, there has been an insufficient number of veterinarians in the country for years. The large animal vet shortage is especially a problem in rural areas, but with urban companion animal practises also drowning – the problems are becoming increasingly apparent.
The Large Animal Vet Shortage
The president of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Sarah Allin, said “it is financially difficult to operate strictly as a large animal vet in a very rural area and many have to treat companion animals to supplement their income. The lack of companion animal vets in urban areas is trickling down to rural areas.” (The Western Producer) Without the support of companion animal veterinarians, the large animal vet shortage is becoming even more dire – leaving few vets to care for many animals in need of medical care.
Enticing new graduates into large animal practices, and/or retaining current veterinarians is going to require substantial changes to the current ecosystem. Alleviating the large animal vet shortage in rural areas will continue unless obstacles like work-life balance and solid mentorship become widely accessible for graduating veterinarians.
What are the Proposed Solutions?
In Saskatchewan, 5 more students will attend WCVM than the usual 20. (The Saskatchewan Government Press Release) In Alberta, the UCVM is preparing to double its students to 100 by 2025. In the meantime, 5 seats will be added this year. (The University of Calgary)
Graduating more new students is a necessary long-term step that will improve the labour shortage crisis over time, but the large animal vet shortage is happening now. Some proposed shorter term solutions are to license foreign-trained veterinarians quicker by increasing access to exam sites and offer it more often.
Some provinces are using Canadian Agriculture Partnership funding to support the industry through equipment acquisition and digital tools such as telemedicine are providing some much-needed relief. At the same time, more and more clinics have started leaning into comprehensive practice management systems such as SoftVet – to ease administrative burdens and save veterinarian’s invaluable time.
The large animal vet shortage in rural areas affects the whole industry – and Just Vet Solutions is here to support the industry to the best of our ability.
If you’re looking for a full clinic solution that will enable you to “do more with less”, Book a Demo today.