East Kootenay Veterinarians facing staffing challenges work together to provide after-hours urgent care services.
The past few years have been extremely challenging for the veterinary community across Canada with the shortage of veterinarians and veterinary technicians reaching crisis status. Veterinary practices in the East Kootenay region have been impacted firsthand, not only by the shortage of veterinary professionals, but an overwhelming increase in demand for both emergent and nonemergent veterinary care. Stretched to the breaking point, many veterinary professionals are facing burnout, and mental and physical exhaustion.
In the Kootenays the veterinary community does not have an emergency referral practice within a reasonable driving distance to help mitigate the volume of emergency calls our local veterinarians and technicians are faced with daily. While there is no legal obligation to provide afterhours emergency care, the veterinary community does feel a strong moral obligation to offer afterhours emergency coverage to the best of our abilities. While we have managed to provide emergency care in the past, this task has become too overwhelming for individual clinics to maintain. With careful consideration, we have formed a cooperative group with all clinics in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Creston, Invermere and Golden to share the increased demand for emergency services.
Our goal is to provide consistent emergency veterinary care to the East Kootenays. We are confident that this partnership, referred to as the East Kootenay Veterinary Group (EKVG) will succeed in maintaining a consistent level of veterinary emergency care that is sustainable and will preserve the health and longevity of our veterinary community. This new cooperative agreement will allow high level, consistent and, most importantly, maintainable veterinary emergency service for all your animals 24/7/365. This partnership may evolve as the needs of the community change.
What does that mean for our Invermere Veterinary Hospital and Golden Veterinary Services clients?
All emergent calls will be triaged by an experienced registered veterinary technician who will help clients determine whether emergency service is required and, if so, direct them appropriately. Clients will be given clear direction on where emergency after hours service will be offered based on the day and nature of the emergency. For our Invermere and Golden clients this means most of the time the clinic location will be in Cranbrook, and at times there will be occasions where travel to Creston or Fernie may be required. We realize this may be inconvenient, alternatives would be several hours away at emergency hospitals in Calgary. We encourage all clients to have a plan in place to provide emergency transport if required, especially equine and bovine clients, as farm calls may not be readily available.