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Veterinarian staff shortage impacts Hawaii pet owners

<i>KITV</i><br/>Veterinarian staff shortage impacts Hawaii pet owners.
Veterinarian staff shortage impacts Hawaii pet owners.

By Cynthia Yip

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    Hawaii (KITV) — Despite an average of 2,500-2,600 graduates becoming veterinarians each year, an estimated 15,000 veterinarians could be needed for U.S. pets by 2030.

A Banfield Pet Hospital study finds that a potential shortage of this size would leave 75 million pets without veterinary care by 2030.

At Feather and Fur Animal Hospital in Kailua, less staff at the clinic and at facilities statewide means the veterinary staffing shortage is approaching a critical level.

“We are understaffed. We have so many patients that come in and the clients, rightfully so they want to get the right care for their animals but when you have a full hospital of sick and injured patients,” says Michele Morlet, of Feather & Fur Animal Hospital.

“You can’t take anymore. Every day we are getting calls from other facilities, they’re at capacity, they’re only taking emergencies, so it’s not just us. It’s everywhere.”

Early in the pandemic, increases in pet adoptions strengthened the bond between people and their pets. But it also accelerated an already existing veterinary professional staffing shortfall.

At Feather and Fur Animal Hospital, they see up to 100 pet patients, and sometimes more, a day. With 11 veterinarians and 60 staff members, they can only handle life-threatening emergencies, and previously scheduled appointments.

“It feels like crisis level, for those of us working in it, because again, we’re working long hours. And very hard conditions trying to save lives,” says Morlet. “It works on your mind, it works on your heart, and you can’t save them all, you want to.”

While there is this critical shortage of veterinary professionals, workers at Feather & Fur Animal Hospital are asking for everyone’s patience , kindness and understanding as they continue to care for your pets.

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