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Month-long wait for patients as SPCA Florida deals with nationwide vet shortage

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 18:01:07-04

LAKELAND, Fla.  — Pet adoptions were through the roof during quarantine when people had more time to spend with their furry friends.

“They are not returning them, they’re keeping them in their home but now they need veterinary services, which is what we want them to do,” said Randa Richter with SPCA Florida.

There’s one problem, SPCA Florida does not have enough vets. There’s a nationwide shortage of vets and vet techs that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Typically try to have three to four vets a day on staff and there are days we have one vet on staff in our hospital,” Richter said.

They are also short front desk staff and call center staff. SPCA Florida has temporarily closed its call center but will continue to take voicemails and call clients back.

“In a day they would receive hundreds, hundreds of phone calls, so just imagine how many voicemails we have from those phone calls because they’re still coming in,” said Richter.

They are booking appointments one month out, meaning a longer than normal wait for pet owners.

SPCA Florida is using incentives like more pay, health benefits, and discounts on personal pet vet care to attract new hires. In the meantime, they are asking for your patience.

“I think everyone is kind of over COVID and we understand that, so are we. Just have patience and understanding. We are all here for you and for your family members,” Richter said.