Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 7 days ago
    I'm guessing everyone is running into this issue? We assist with funding for Spay/Neuters (and vaccines) for Pit Bull and Pit Bull mix dogs. We are finding that the "low-cost" options for altering dogs have disappeared.  Also, the appointments are unbelievably long waits (up to 6 months) and more dogs will be born while waiting. Sometimes we can find an appointment "only" a month or two out but they are at least 4 times the price that we paid just 2 years ago. Of course, our fundraising is very low currently so this model is not sustainable. Are there any thoughts or creative ideas? How is everyone else that is supporting the community at clinics handling this crisis?

    Megan Alexander
    President, Pit Bull Rescue Central
    www.pbrc.net

    #Medicine,SurgeryandSterilization

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    Megan Alexander
    Pit Bull Rescue Central
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  • 2.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 6 days ago
    You're definitely not alone.  We're lucky enough to have a veterinarian on staff and we're getting calls from other rescues in the area asking if we can provide spay/neuter support because they're seeing the same things in terms of months-long wait times and $300-400 spay/neuter surgeries on shoestring budgets.

    It looks like you're located around Kansas City?  If that's the case, you may want to try exploring relationships with some of the veterinary programs in your area.  It looks like University of Missouri has a college of veterinary medicine with campuses in Kansas City and Columbia, you may be able to find support in providing animals for their program or having medical interns do some sort of partnership program at your facility.

    It looks like Johnson Community College also has a veterinary technician program.  Not quite sure on the state regs in Missouri, but these programs usually have a veterinarian that oversees care for the technicians in training and are often easier and more willing to work with programs than the doctoral level vet schools on getting in animals to be part of their training program.

    Beyond that you could try directly soliciting area veterinarians to see if anyone will give you a discount or provide volunteer services, but pretty much all vets are stretched and understaffed right now so the sad reality of it is it's just a really hard time to find care right now and there might not be any good, affordable options.

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    Jeff Okazaki
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
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  • 3.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 6 days ago
    The situation in central AZ (Pinal County) is dismal as well! I operate a spay-neuter/intake prevention 501(c)(3) which has altered approximately 400-500 animals/year for low income/underserved residents of our county (including feral cat caregivers) for the last nine years. We recently lost BOTH of our mobile service providers in the same month due to "staffing issues" (and we serve a geographic area of more than 5,000 square miles, so mobile care is really crucial).  Since that loss we have had little-to-no cooperation from the few local vets in the area as far as provision of services (and none will offer us prices a very small non-profit and low income owners can absorb...plus the wait times are months out for any services.) Veterinary colleges typically do not allow students to operate on owned animals, so that is also not an option for us-not that the vet colleges in AZ have responded to my inquiries! I have contacted Best Friends national organization asking for someone to contact me so that I may discuss the problem in my area-no answer; I have contacted every one of the few mobile services in the metro Phoenix/Tuscon areas (none will travel to my county which is mid-way between the two cities-"too far")-and the big  city organizations can't help as they are busy dealing with metro Phoenix/Tucson issues. Why does the AVMA not seem too concerned with this problem, which is nation wide? It seems that using veterinary paraprofessionals more effectively would be one way to address the "vet shortage" problem-if human medicine can heavily utilize PAs and NPs, why can veterinary technology programs not be heavily promoted? Can't even typical vet tecnician curriculums be revised to allow for a greater scope of practice? It seems that utilizing people more efficiently would go a long way toward relieving some of the demand on the vets themselves. We are losing the shelter intake reduction strides we have all made over literally years of effort-and that's pretty discouraging. If things don't start to change, we'll be back to routinely euthanizing for space alone in our shelters. Sad!

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    LYNDA NESBITT
    Pets In Need Action League
    5205820299
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  • 4.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 4 days ago
    Yes! Why hasn't the AVMA (or another stepped up to lead a think tank on this issue? It's not going to miraculously resolve on its own! Something has to change and evolve. In the meantime, Veterinarians are trying to make up the rules for the new normal on their own which is basically leading to an even worse issue! I have heard the idea of creating PAs and NPs to assist with the workload. It really seems to be a fairly simple fix and yet no one is taking action! 

    It is so frustrating sitting back and watching the train coming down the tracks and being helpless to stop the train wreck!

    Maybe some leader at Maddie's Fund could start a conversation with some of the stakeholders?

    Best,

    Megan Alexander, President
    Pit Bull Rescue Central, www.pbrc.net
    "Where education meets rescue"


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    Megan Alexander
    Pit Bull Rescue Central, https://www.pbrc.net
    "where education meets rescue"
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  • 5.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 4 days ago
    We heard at the HSUS conference this year that AVMA doesn't think there is a shortage of veterinarians.  This Article (Are We In A Workforce Crisis) sums up the general response we've seen from AVMA regarding this issue.

    To quickly summarize, the article says:
    1. There was not a surge in pet adoptions during the pandemic
    2. Vet clinics are seeing growth in appointments but not by much and these are from existing patients who stopped visits during the pandemic
    3. Workforce issues are mostly related to productivity and support staff burnout

    Quite frankly, that's all crap.

    For the first point, the data AVMA and other have been using to show pandemic adoptions is completely wrong.  Trying to base adoptions off of shelter data is useless.  Anyone running a shelter knows our 2020-2022 data is very different from 2019.  Shelter adoptions were down because shelters weren't open and weren't able to transport dogs.  Of course our adoptions were down. 

    But that doesn't mean people stopped adopting animals.  We're already talking about how Millennials don't like the old-school adoption application process and how we need to change to open adoptions.  During the pandemic people went to pet stores, breeders, puppy mills, all places that don't report their data.  We've had reports of our area that some breeders were mass killing puppies that didn't sell because they were trying to breed so hard to meet the demand.

    The idea that we should be using shelter data to try and say there was no pandemic adoption surge is ridiculous.  If you look at all of the other evidence, pet store sales growth, vet availability, the current trend in adoptions at shelters now, it's obvious there was a surge.  People did adopt during the pandemic, and now we need to stop saying it didn't happen and actually look at addressing the fact that we hit an adoption saturation point and it's going to affect us for years to come.

    For the second point, I don't know how AVMA can say 4.5% 2020 and 6.5% 2021 growth when the rest of the world was shut down is strong, but then in the same breath say it doesn't represent increased demand for veterinary services.  It's doubly baffling because they also say specifically in the article "Recognizing that emergency and urgent care clinics appear to have taken on substantial additional demands from clients and patients." 

    Supposedly their reasoning is because their internal data sources shows most revenue coming from existing patients.  But it doesn't define whether that's existing owners with more pets and it doesn't mention the fact that new owners are having a hell of a time finding a vet who's able to see them anytime soon.

    You are absolutely right that we should be looking for and pushing more mid-level practitioners because we're facing a massive pet surge and a massive vet shortage.  In this case though, we'll probably be the ones who need to do something about it because AVMA is either too busy reading the wrong data or more interested in protecting current members wallets than pets.


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    Jeff Okazaki
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
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  • 6.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted yesterday
    Wow!  The AVMA must be in denial!


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    Dara Edmonds
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  • 7.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 23 hours ago
    It really seems like the AVMA and the veterinary profession in general is losing touch with the reality "in the trenches"-it's now all about money and transitioning from private to large corporate-owned practices...much as happened to human medical care (to its detriment) decades ago. We also seem to be losing the "give back" philosophy that used to be prevalent in veterinary medicine-there seems to be little interest in  trying to help people take care of their animals if they can't pay outrageous prices to do so.  A cat dental in my area (one with a significant number of non-English speakers/people who live at or below the poverty level/reservation land) runs 700+$, just as an example, with routine spays-neuters anywhere from 300-500+$. And we wonder why people's pets don't receive vet care?

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    LYNDA NESBITT
    Pets In Need Action League
    5205820299
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  • 8.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 4 minutes ago
    Totally agree with this.  I often wonder why some vets even went into the profession if they are not willing to do some 'no/low cost' services for 1-2 rescues trying to save animals.  Agree that dental cleanings are also out of control.  Even though I have a regular vet, I won't pay their prices.  I have used Dr. Kelly's mobile vet before and will do so in the future.  They are in AZ. https://www.drkellysvet.com/

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    Maurna
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  • 9.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 5 hours ago
    It's a huge problem everywhere. It's been all over the news too! It's not a problem for existing vets though because they have a steady stream of customers paying the going and rising rates. There's no incentive for them to take on low cost or free programs, and no incentive to increase the number of vets or enable techs to do more work because that could reduce their own patient load, aka incoming money.  There are some people out there working on this but it's extremely slow going. There aren't enough vet schools to quickly increase the number of vets, and the patchwork state by state laws means it's impossible to make a national change. Vets also actively push back on things like telemedicine because they think it should be face to face only. I know a vet from overseas who can't work as a vet at all here because the licensing process is so difficult.

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    M Saucedo
    GIS Analyst
    Pets for Life
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  • 10.  RE: Ideas for timely spay/neuters for community member's dogs

    Posted 10 minutes ago
    Funny how vets in Mexico (just a for example) can perform spay-neuter for 25$/pet (one of my volunteers is from Mexico and recently funded a day long spay-neuter clinic herself becuase it was so inexpensive to do so!)...but, I know there are a lot of reasons unique to the US why that's the case. I just wonder how WE try to address this issue? Can we? Are we not thinking creatively enough? Is it magical thinking to even imagine we can change things? I think if we're waiting for the veterinary profession to take the initiative on change we're going to be waiting a long time...

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    LYNDA NESBITT
    Pets In Need Action League
    5205820299
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