My sister sent me a link to an alarming article in the Whole Dog Journal about emergency vet services reducing their hours.
The writer, the WDJ editor, says that three clinics in her area had suspended their overnight services, and that she’d heard of this happening in other parts of the country.
Even if you’ve never used an emergency vet, now’s a good time to check out what is available in your area and whether they’ve made changes to their hours.
I decided to do that, and I discovered that both emergency services in Missoula are still working — 5 pm to 8 am weekdays and 24 hours on weekends and holidays. Whew.
When I mentioned the article and the reduced hours, one clinic’s response was “we’re doing quite the opposite!” — they are planning to expand their hours to 24 hours 7 days a week. The other partners with a “regular” vet clinic and is open when that clinic is not, so effectively … yep, 24×7. Missoula’s pets are in good hands.
I’ve been lucky. Cali hasn’t needed emergency services, and the only time Jana did … it didn’t turn out well. But the emergency clinic staff and vets were wonderful, and I was very appreciative that they were available, late at night on a holiday.
The reason clinics are cutting hours appears to be staffing shortages. When I was trying to find specialist services for Cali a few months ago, I ran into that problem: Appointments for the nearest doggy neurologist (3 hours away in Pullman, WA) were booking out several months. They have a shortage of veterinary anesthesiologists, they explained, and they do not want to schedule exams if they cannot then perform the recommended (very costly) scans.
Cali may not need to go; she’s trying some alternative therapy while waiting for her appointment, and it was never an emergency situation.
But I am relieved to know that if we ever do need emergency care, it’s available.
I’ve got both clinics entered into my contacts. But I hope I never need to call them.