B.C. SPCA calls for support amid growing veterinarian shortage in province | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. SPCA calls for support amid growing veterinarian shortage in province

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April 24, 2021 - 1:00 PM

It's World Veterinary Day and the B.C. SPCA is bringing attention to a growing veterinarian shortage in B.C.

The non-profit animal welfare society has launched a pledge campaign asking the provincial government to provide funding for 20 additional spaces for B.C. students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – B.C.'s regional vet school in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: B.C. SPCA shines spotlight on need for more pet-friendly housing

“The demand for veterinary services in B.C. already outstrips the number of vets available, and this situation is only going to get more urgent,” says Craig Daniell, chief executive officer of the B.C. SPCA, in a news release. “Not only does this put our pets and other animals at risk, but the shortage has led to increasing levels of exhaustion, burn-out and, sadly, suicide, within the veterinary profession.”

A labour market study conducted by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in 2019 indicated B.C. would be short 100 veterinarians per year for each of the subsequent five years, culminating in a shortage of 500 veterinarians by 2024, according to the SPCA.

“The shortage is particularly serious outside of urban areas, where access to veterinary care is already limited and in fields of specialization, such as large animal care,” Daniell says.

Daniell says British Columbia has an opportunity to alleviate the growing vet shortage in the province by providing government funding to support 20 additional spaces for B.C. veterinary students at Western College.

“The key issue is funding,” says Daniell. “Veterinary students pay part of their tuition, with the balance of funding coming from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. We are urging the provincial government to protect B.C. animals by providing funding for B.C. students to access the 20 open spaces at Western – a cost of approximately $8.3 million annually.”

Without action to address the increasing vet shortage, Daniell says both animals and people are at risk.

READ MORE: B.C. SPCA takes over 100 dogs into care from northern B.C. property

“We are already seeing the negative impact on animals, as access to veterinary care diminishes,” he says. “This includes both individual pet owners and rescue groups such as the BC SPCA, which rely heavily on support from veterinarians in saving the lives of abused and neglected animals.”

He adds that veterinarians also play a key role in protecting public health through their expertise in identifying and mitigating the impact of zoonotic diseases.

To sign the B.C. SPCA’s pledge to support training for B.C. veterinarians, visit the non-profit's website.


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