Households with pets have increased, especially since the pandemic, but because of a workforce shortage, the people who care for our furry family members (medically) are desperately needed.

My little dog, Rusty, was recently diagnosed with a pretty severe heart murmur.

The way everything escalated from him being a Zoomie-filled 13-year-old puppy to him having issues, left my head spinning!

On a Thursday night, he spent all night hacking and coughing, but during the daytime, he appeared fine. My wife and I thought he just had a hairball, so there was no real concern.

Friday night was the same, and we knew something was wrong. That Saturday, I called our local vet to make an appointment, but I had to wait for an opening.

Vet in blue holding a white puppy

Saturday night, while playing outside, he went into a coughing fit and collapsed. We were scared, but with our emergency veterinary hospital in Central Washington closing permanently, we were forced just to wait, keep him comfortable, and hope for the best.

My wife and I aren't alone in this "sitting, waiting, and hoping" situation.

a dog named Rusty
RUSTY - tsm/Timmy!

In an interesting situation, more veterinary clinics are opening, but because of the workforce shortage, there is not enough staff for them.

To help resolve this situation, the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association reached out to legislators for $5 million of funding for more veterinary schools, especially 20 additional spots at WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine.

As of this writing, funding has yet to be granted, but the WSVMA plans to make a proposal again next year.

Not only do we need doctors for our normal household pets, but with the Pacific Northwest being heavily agricultural, veterinarians who can work with more "farm" animals are drastically needed.

Veterinarian drawing blood from a cow.

Until new programs can be made, class sizes in veterinary schools are allowing in student capacity.

A new Veterinary school in Utah will help, especially with students at WSU being able to transfer in the last two years of the program according to

Let's hope this is not too little, too late.

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