Veterinarian shortage worsens in Bay County

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The nationwide veterinarian shortage is being felt Bay County, as a popular veterinary clinic announced its immediate closure earlier this month.

Vets Pets in Panama City Beach has closed its doors permanently, only allowing people to come and pick up patient records. But all those patients have to go somewhere else for veterinary services.

Many of them are finding their way down the street at the Animal Care Center. Doctors there say they’ve been seeing more pets than ever before. They are taking in an average of 20-30 emergencies, totaling anywhere from 60-70 appointments in a single day.

“We used to do 24/7 with having a doctor on-call overnights but we were getting too stressed during the day trying to keep up with walk-ins, urgent care, emergencies during the daytime hours, so we had to devote a doctor to that. So we now have three doctors seeing rooms full time including walk-ins and a doctor in surgery every single day,” Dr. Matt LeBleu, Veterinarian at the Animal Care Center, said.

A recent study by Mars Veterinary Health (MVH) shows that 75 million pets in the U.S. will go without health care because of a need for nearly 41,000 additional veterinarians by 2030.

But Dr. LeBleu said they’re doing everything they can to meet the demand.

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