DES MOINES, Iowa — Caring for our furry friends isn't a walk in the park — and that's why one local veterinarian says they need more veterinarians fast.
Dr. Michelle Heyer, a veterinarian at Animal Care Clinic West says the journey of becoming a veterinarian is complex.
"It's a very competitive field, and you get into it, and it is not as lucrative as some of the other fields for that kind of debt intake," Heyer said.
According to Dr. Randy Wheeler, the Executive Director of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, 44 states across the nation are experiencing veterinarian shortages, with rural states and cities facing the worst of it.
Within rural states, emergency clinics are having trouble finding vets and vet techs to meet their demand.
Wheeler emphasizes the struggle rural areas are facing.
"As far as why we're seeing shortages, again, salaries, the number of years it takes to get through vet school and then in the rural areas, it's the rural lifestyle versus urban or suburban areas," Wheeler said.
Wheeler says that after looking at the states veterinarian college applicants, he thinks help may be on the way.
"Luckily, in Iowa we are seeing a good participation at the college of veterinary medicine, there were over 2000 applicants for 160 seats," Wheeler said.
In the meantime, Heyer says you can expect your visits to be pricier as the industry works to overcome the shortage.
"Just like everything else, you've probably noticed your veterinary bills going up. And that's a trend that you're going to continue to see because it's, it's a way for the profession to try to balance out that for the quality of life in veterinary medicine," Heyer said.
If you need to book an appointment for your pet, make sure you don't wait around as many clinics are full.