Animal hospital reduces hours due to vet shortage

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 11:15 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Jonesboro animal hospital is feeling the effects of a veterinarian shortage after being swamped for weeks with patients.

Allied Animal ER has had to reduce its hours from 24 hours a day to just only three days a week to alleviate the workload among the six doctors.

Allied Animal Health Facebook post 9-28
Allied Animal Health Facebook post 9-28(KAIT 8)

“We are seeing anywhere from 14 to 15 cases in about a 6-to-7-hour period,” Dr. Amy Laws said.

Dr. Laws is one of the owners of Allied Animal ER, and she mentioned each doctor would average 24 to 36 hours a month on top of the 45 hours they spend at their home clinics.

“We just don’t have any veterinarians willing to come in and work a few extra shifts,” she said.

The doctor added even with reducing business hours, the workdays at the animal hospital will still run long, sometimes working as late as two in the morning.

If your pet is experiencing health issues, Dr. Laws recommends you monitor your pet if their symptoms are mild, and contact your trusted veterinarian for an appointment right when their office is open, adding appointments can fill up quickly.

However, if your pet is experiencing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue, she urges you to go to an emergency veterinarian service in Little Rock or Memphis.

Arkansas State University is still working on developing a veterinarian school program, which will be one of the first in the Natural State.

Bill Smith, the university’s communications director, says the school is still in its study stages.

“It’s an ongoing process, and we’re continuing to investigate the possibility of bringing that college of veterinarian medicine to Jonesboro,” Smith said.

Smith added he hopes the vet school will help add more veterinarians to the workforce to alleviate the shortage in Arkansas.

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