Pet society

24/7 Langford Pet Hospital Temporarily Shortens Hours of Operation

A 24/7 emergency pet hospital on the South Island is to reduce its opening hours to prevent further burnout of staff.

“No one wants to shut up at night and say no to people, but we also have to understand that we’re being pushed to our limits if we do this,” said Dr. Erinne Branter, veterinarian and co-founder of Waves Emergency. Langford Veterinary Hospital.

Branter says that for years she and her colleagues have had to work 10 to 15 hour days due to vet shortages and it is draining her staff.

“With many months and years of this kind of work, it is exhausting. It’s exhausting,” she said.

To prevent further burnout, Waves emergency departments will close overnight from midnight to 6 a.m. until new doctors arrive in the fall.

“We are just trying to find a way to keep our staff healthy. Emotionally, and psychologically. And saying no to a few nights in the summer is how we do it,” Branter said.

She says the pandemic has caused people to rethink their working hours and says the new generation of vets coming out of school are looking for more balance.

“I think this generation is shrewd. They know what they want. They want a psychologically positive work environment and I would say that has changed since I was trained,” Branter said.

Where the shortage of veterinarians is most apparent is in rural communities.

“In Qualicum Beach, you can’t find a vet,” said Sherry, who drove two and a half hours to get treatment for her pup Ellie, who suffered from seizures.

“There are several vets, they’re just all full,” her husband Frank said.

In an attempt to address the shortage of vets, the province doubled the number of places it would fund in vet schools from 20 to 40 for 2022. But vets say that’s not enough.

“We did a labor market study which showed that we need 100 vets per year for the next five years to meet the demand. And the government hasn’t told us if it’s going to fund those seats beyond 2022,” said Dr. Marco Veenis, a Kelowna veterinarian who sits on the board of the Society of BC Veterinarians.

“We get a lot of calls from vets who just don’t know what to do. They see more customers than they can handle and would like to expand their services, but they need more people and they just can’t find those people.

In the meantime, Dr. Veenis expects things to get worse before they get better, as Canada’s population is only growing.

“Our profession is finally in crisis,” Dr. Branter said.

Waves Emergency Hospital announces that it will be operational again 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the fall. For the summer, Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital near Mayfair Mall is the only hospital in the Greater Victoria area to operate 24/7.

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