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Discussion Anyone With a Pet Noticing Veterinarian Practices Being Taken Over and Vets Quitting From Stress, Debt, Abuse, and Corporate Greed?

Awesomegames23

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This is my first time making a Famiboards thread so please forgive me if I've broken any rule(s) related to posting.

Hi folks, I've been posting on Famiboards for a while. I mostly make witty comments and funny one-liners in the Nintendo General Discussion and now the Twitter Drop Speculation thread. But I am creating this thread because I am hoping users with a furry friend can share their experience(s), information, and/or insight regarding the changes you may or may not have noticed at your local Veterinarian clinic.

I'd like to start by writing that I live in Canada and I have 7 year old Chartreux cat. A few months ago I read that my local Veterinarian (Vet) clinic was sold to a Canadian owned, corporate Vet business, however I think the purchase happened over a year ago. It didn't seem like something to think too much about at the time.

Yesterday, I brought my cat to the Vet for his annual visit. Don't fret! Snuggles is happy and healthy and is even curled up to me as I'm typing this on my phone (FYI he literally just rolled over as I typed that sentence, meaning he wants belly rubs). I paid for Snuggles' appointment after his vaccine and general checkup, which seemed slightly more than I remember, but who knows with inflation, and as I was paying at reception I remarked they were busy, with a dog coming in and another dog being waited on (yes they were with humans). The receptionist replied that they were busy, and there was only 1 full time and 1 part time Vet at the practice.

What the hell?! This clinic use to have 6 Vets a year ago. Without prying for too much information, I asked why were there fewer Vets now and I was told "retirement and went elsewhere". Obviously this answer was dog crap, but since I've been researching the details since yesterday afternoon, I gained some insight into why over half the Vets left in under a year, and it seems this is a trend not just in Canada.

Since the pandemic started, many families have bought or adopted animal, most often a cat or dog. While great news for shelters, Vet clinics have since had to deal with many more critters and fluffies, adding stress to their day. As I wrote before, national corporations are buying Vet clinics around Canada. I cannot imagine animal care is not changing at these clinics in significant ways, regardless of what the corporation purchasing these clinics admits to in an article. Luckily, Snuggles' appointment yesterday was as normal as ever, but I worry to think that all aspects of running a Vet clinic will increase in price for the sake of shareholders, and procedures will be evaluated and selected with a preference for more profitable care, amongst many other ways to turn fluffy (or scaley) companionship care into profit. From what I've read, it seems changes to the practice, some attributed to new corporate ownership, has been one of the reasons why Vets are leaving their clinics or the profession completely.

I do not know why the individual Vets quit at my clinic, but the profession is changing and has changed from what I've read. Vets are carrying record student debt, which is all anyone needs to stay up at night. Vets also have a very demanding job at the best of times, and since the pandemic, I've noticed that my Vet clinic has memos on their FB page and at their office reading that they will not tolerate verbal abuse, which seems to be a normal part of being a Vet from what I've read. More, the influx of animals has resulted in less break time and longer hours. I read that provinces in Canada are reluctant to create more Vet school seats (due to cost) and the number of Vets retiring is currently, slightly outpacing Vets entering the profession too.

Worst of all, young Vets have a relatively high rate of suicide. In 2021, about a quarter of Canadian Vets had suicidal thoughts in the last year, I.e since the pandemic.

Please show your local Vet as much kindness as you can, even if the prognosis is challenging, since they are doing what they can under challenging circumstances.

Let me know your thoughts and/or experiences with your pet or pets receiving Vet care since the pandemic.
 
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neil

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I can see how corporations taking over independent practices can lead to some negative changes. But all vet practices are private, i.e. profit-making, businesses. More pets should be good for business, provided there are enough qualified vets to take on the work. If pet ownership has really boomed, a skills shortage seems as likely a cause of the problem as corporate takeovers.

In the UK at least, vets go through a lot of training but are also paid higher than the average worker.
 

Mekanos

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My vet moved to mandatory a monthly fee but you get access to things that you would normally have to pay a lot for, so... dunno how to feel about that.
 

big lantern ghost

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My sister-in-law had this exact thing happen at her old clinic. Had several established vets and plenty of long-time staff, then a company (likely the same one if it's a large one in Canada) bought it out, nearly all of the vets retired or moved to teaching etc with their share of the buyout, and a whole bunch of crappy business practices came in, like encouraging clients to purchase more expensive products and services regardless of necessity. She was thankfully able to find a new job at a clinic that has remained independently owned, but it is absolutely a thing that is happening to and hurting the field -- at least in Canada. This all happened long before the pandemic! Although I'm sure, like everything else in life, the situation has certainly not improved over the past couple years.
 
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Awesomegames23

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I can see how corporations taking over independent practices can lead to some negative changes. But all vet practices are private, i.e. profit-making, businesses. More pets should be good for business, provided there are enough qualified vets to take on the work. If pet ownership has really boomed, a skills shortage seems as likely a cause of the problem as corporate takeovers.

In the UK at least, vets go through a lot of training but are also paid higher than the average worker.
Vets need to make a profit here too, but burnout and an increase in pet ownership caused by the pandemic have heavily strained the industry. I actually called to get a possible ear infection looked at for my cat 6 months ago, but the earliest appointment was 6 weeks away. I kept it, but luckily I treated it myself with an antibiotic ointment. 6 weeks for something serious could be the difference between life or death in other cases.

I think vets do a 4 year degree in Canada and probably need some number of months of experience in order to graduate.
 


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