Panhandle Veterinarian Shortage - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Panhandle Veterinarian Shortage

Local Veterinarian David Faulkner Local Veterinarian David Faulkner
Pet Owner Jeannie Barnes Pet Owner Jeannie Barnes

Pet owners beware the care for your pet could be at stake. A shortage of veterinarians continues to climb in areas of the panhandle and across the country, which is affecting local clinics and pet owners.

According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the nationwide vet shortage is making it harder for pet owners to get the proper care for their pet.  Smaller cities such as Amarillo are being hit the hardest. Some veterinarian clinics are having a hard time recruiting and retaining vets.

There is an estimated 28 veterinarian medical schools nationwide, which is one are that vets blame the shortage on. Another reason some say it's the debt to salary ratio.  An average vet student's debt is more than $100,000 with a starting salary of $40,000 - $55,000 dollars a year.

One local veterinarian David Faulkner says it's hard to compete with big city pay. "Veterinarians in this region have to do a whole lot more. An array of different problems... Then per say Dallas" explains Faulkner.

The shortage is forcing local vets to change hours and fees. It also forces fewer vets to operate in one clinic, leaving pet owners concerned about the care their pets receive. Pet Owner Jeannie Barnes says she has noticed a change in Vet care in the area.  "For small animals, I'm concerned of finding a vet that will nurture and take care of my pet", Barnes said.

Veterinarians  say the shortage continues to climb by 10-percent every year.  If the trend does not stop... The next area the shortage will hit will be livestock vets who handle diseases in animals in the food we eat.

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