Terrace farmer voices concerns over vet shortages in the Northwest
It's been no secret that the current veterinary shortage has caused some frustrations for vets, pet owners and farmers across the province.
Dena Leier, and her husband Brad Leier, own and operate Graham Acres Homestead in Terrace and they are becoming increasingly worried about finding healthcare closeby.
“In actuality, I've had to phone down to the lower mainland, to the island, to get help. But then the Vet Association said that unless the vet was on-site, she couldn't provide services to us any longer. We're really in a bind because when we have sick animals, we can't treat them,” said Dena Leier.
One of their main concerns is Josephine, the farm’s pregnant cow who's due in July. She has been lame for a few days now, meaning that she's been struggling to move due to foot pain.
“Her hind and her foot were swollen. Right now, we're diagnosing as best as we can with the information we have; we are currently referring to the Manual for Veterinary Medicine as we don’t have another outlet.”
As for pet care, The Terrace Animal Hospital is currently a two-person show, offering their services to as many local pet owners as they can. But for Dr. Renée Seaton, she is looking for more trained staff to help with the workflow.
“Without trained staff, we can only be so efficient. Increasing our efficiency with more trained staff would be huge for the Terrace area., We are trying to see as many animals as we can and fit them into our long lists of patients,” added Dr. Seaton.
Dr. Seaton says balance and organization is key for their clinic to provide as much care as possible to sick animals in the community.
“It's been a balance of trying to maintain a client list so that we can take care of and provide good health care while also trying to eliminate animal suffering and distress in the community as best as we can.”
In April, the B.C. government stated that more veterinary students will be attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine on the Saskatchewan campus following the investment from the province to double the amount of subsidized seats.
Dr. Gillian Muir, dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, said: “The Government of B.C. has been one of the WCVM’s provincial partners for more than 55 years, and we are very excited to see that strong commitment grow. This increased investment enables more B.C. residents to achieve their dreams of becoming veterinarians. It also allows the veterinary college to better serve the diverse needs of communities throughout B.C., to support the health of companion animals and livestock, and to protect food safety and animal welfare.”