UP Veterinary Care: Finding solutions

Animal caregivers in the U.P. say there is still a shortage of veterinarians. But now, the community is finding solutions to help your animals.
Published: Jul. 11, 2023 at 1:53 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Veterinarian Tracy Nyberg owns Stuga North Veterinary Care in Marquette. She says right now, there is still a shortage of veterinarians in the U.P.

“One solution is of course getting more vets up here,” said Nyberg. “And that’s a slow process. There’s a couple that we actually know are students that are going to vet school this fall.”

The ideal situation – having enough vets to form a relationship with your animals, so you’re not just coming in for a checkup.

“We could take care of every single animal up here and spend half an hour in a room with every single client and forge that special relationship that I think most of us vets really value,” said Nyberg.

But when your pet needs immediate attention, vets say they want to provide emergency care. While a direct solution isn’t available right now, there are some ideas.

The Almost Home Animal Shelter in Dickinson County suggests having current veterinarians take turns providing emergency care outside of normal business hours.

“One clinic, one weekend, one another weekend,” said Diane Luczak, the manager of the Almost Home Animal Shelter. “Then you wouldn’t be on call almost 24/7 or every weekend. I just think they could work out a system and it would work.”

Taking turns so everyone gets the break they need.

“We are humans, too, and we can’t always be at the clinic or by our phones all the time to answer emergency calls,” said Nyberg.

Just like everyone else, veterinarians need time away from work.

The Not One More Vet nonprofit is starting the conversation around veterinarians’ mental health needs. It’s based in San Jose, California, but serves the entire U.S.

Statistics show vets are more likely to die by suicide when compared to the general population. Not One More Vet provides resources for veterinarians struggling with their mental health and offers grants to help take away financial stress.

While there is no one answer to fix the lack of care here in the U.P., animal caregivers are casting light on the situation and starting to find solutions to help your pets.

We will continue to follow the situation and as solutions develop, we’ll bring those to you.

But for now, if you’re thinking of adding an animal to your family – vets recommend before adopting, make sure there is a veterinarian available.

Read our previous coverage here.