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Nationwide veterinarian shortage reaches the Coastal Bend region

Posted at 8:22 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 21:22:41-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — According to the US Department of Agriculture, Brooks County is facing a shortage in private practice veterinarian clinics.

In a town of nearly 5,000 people, Falfurrias only has one clinic.

"I was there the other day when one of my puppies who had stomach issues and they were just so packed and busy,” said, Falfurrias resident August Patroelj.

Patroelj has 7 puppies to care for.

He manages with the help of Dr. Vickers and Dr. Euler at Las Palmas Veterinary Hospital to help in case of an emergency.

"I called him the other day and he was out there at the ranch until 8 o'clock at night. I can’t imagine how tedious his schedule is. It must be really hard,” he said.

Day to day, Las Palmas Veterinary Hospital has a full schedule.

Patroelj said if he can't get a hold of them, he has to drive a few miles outside of town to get help.

"I had to call the other vet Wilkinson and he was able to help me.”

It's not just Falfurrias that's seeing a shortage.

Glen Wilkinson owns Wilkinson's Veterniarian Clinc in Premont.

He tells KRIS his staff has been working to keep up with demand.

"In our area there's a shortage. I know VCA is having difficulty getting veterinaries,” said Wilkinson.

VCA Animal Hospitals has faced several challenges driven by the millions of new pets adopted during the pandemic.

More pets mean more appointments and the shortage in vets has led to longer wait times and fewer available appointments.

"We just pick up the pace whenever we have to and explain to people there will be a wait time,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson wants to continue serving the Falfurrias community but he's also seeing patients as far as the Rio Grande Valley.

In Corpus Christi, the VCA Oso Creek Animal Hospital and Emergency Center is also facing a shortage in vets as they see more patients from surrounding areas.