Veterinary Pros Share Their Biggest Struggles: The Shocking Truth About Our Industry!

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After a recent flood of comments on our social media post, we’ve compiled the real, unfiltered experiences of veterinary professionals. Here’s what you had to say about the highs and lows of working in vet med. Check out the original post here.

Financial Issues: High Costs and Low Wages

It’s no secret that vet care can be expensive, but the impact on both pet owners and veterinary staff is huge. Many of you suggested making vet bills more affordable and implementing sliding scales based on income. Meanwhile, you’re calling for better pay and fair compensation, especially for vet techs and nurses. The gap between what you earn and the cost of your education is a serious problem. Here are some of your comments:

  • “Make Vet bills affordable for low income or people on fixed incomes. There are a lot of people in that category that love their pets and try to give them the best care. Then an illness or accident occurs, and the owners are faced with a huge bill.”
  • “The lack of appropriate pay for what we do! Stop overworking and underpaying.”
  • “Change in the severe discrepancy between the wages and the loans/cost of education. And getting to freely and openly rate clients online the same way they rate us.”

Working Conditions: Overworked and Undervalued

We hear you loud and clear about the high workloads and burnout. Many of you feel overworked and underappreciated, which creates a toxic work environment. There’s a strong need for more staff to balance the workload and ensure a healthier work-life balance. Here’s what some of you shared:

  • “More staff and an evenly dispersed work load… I had to quit after being burned out after being in vet med since 2010. I went to school for this and got my LVT too.”
  • “Clients are getting meaner, more demanding, and more entitled. Dogs have become unruly (which is the clients not training and letting them walk all over them).”
  • “Attitudes, both from clients and staff, can be toxic and draining.”

The Dark Side of Corporate Influence

The corporatization of vet practices is a hot topic. Many of you believe that corporate control is harming the quality of care and negatively affecting staff treatment. There’s a strong desire to shift back to private practices to restore the focus on patient care and staff well-being. Here are some of your thoughts:

  • “Everything going corporate is ruining the personal touch in veterinary care.”
  • “Stop corporations! They ruin everything.”
  • “Private practices being taken over by corporations eliminates the art of medicine and makes it more about the money.”

Client-Related Challenges: Education and Behavior

Dealing with demanding and disrespectful clients is a frequent issue. Unrealistic expectations only add to the stress. There’s a call for better client education to foster more respectful interactions and realistic expectations about what veterinary care can achieve. Here’s what you had to say:

  • “Negative client behavior, including being demanding and disrespectful, is a major issue.”
  • “Unrealistic expectations from owners, better pay (especially for support staff), and more widespread insurance so pets could get more/better care even with owners that are less well off financially.”
  • “Pay vet techs more so they stay, they are so critical and crank out more vets. Have more rural education programs.”

Professional Development and Support

There’s a big push for better education and training for vet staff. Increasing the number of accredited vet schools and ensuring proper recognition and pay for vet nurses and technicians are crucial. Title protection for these roles is also a key demand to ensure they get the respect and compensation they deserve. Here are some of your comments:

  • “The number of accredited vet schools in the US needs to be tripled at least. There are 32 vet schools in the entire US, compared to nearly 200 med schools.”
  • “Real support and advocacy from the AVMA in the form of title protection and a national standardized list of skills/procedures we can perform.”
  • “Better education about breeding, whelping, and not be so anti-breeding. It’s like a cold wind when you mention breeding dogs in the general vet practices.”

Accessibility and Affordability: Bridging the Gap

Affordable and accessible vet care is a significant concern, especially for marginalized communities and low-income pet owners. Many of you suggested affordable treatment plans and comprehensive insurance coverage for pets. Here’s what you think:

  • “The inaccessibility of affordable veterinary care to marginalized people. Having affordable treatment plans available to owners whenever possible and be open to Euthanasia as an option to alleviate suffering.”
  • “Pricing! I love animals and would have several but can’t afford the vet costs.”
  • “Make things a bit more affordable or pay options with knowing people will hold their word and pay us monthly until the bill is paid off.”

Mental Health: The Hidden Struggle

The emotional and mental toll of working in vet med is real. Many of you are calling for better mental health resources and support systems to help cope with job stresses. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of the animals. Here are some of your experiences:

  • “Not one more vet feeling the need to commit suicide and be able to continue to have services dedicated to mental health and support.”
  • “The field is so draining and toxic! I have been in the field for 15 years and it’s been a struggle. The clients hate us if we can’t help them at an affordable cost.”
  • “Firing clients more who treat the staff like dog shit on the bottom of a shoe instead of keeping them around because you don’t want to lose the clients. Meanwhile your staff is already struggling mentally.”

Regulation and Policy: Calls for Change

There are strong calls for regulatory changes, including requiring insurance for pet ownership to ensure vet services are funded. Unionization is also seen as a potential solution to advocate for better wages and working conditions, addressing many systemic issues in the industry. Here’s what some of you had to say:

  • “If insurance companies paid for costs upfront like they do with human medicine, I think more people would get pet insurance.”
  • “I really wish insurance was required to own a pet. Then the entire field could be paid adequately.”
  • “The frontline workers NEED to unionize. I have seen so many amazing techs and assistants have to leave the field because it is not paying a living wage, especially if they want to start a family.”

Unique and Intriguing Comments

Here are some of the standout comments that bring a unique perspective to the table:

  1. “Euthasol would become the pink juice to keep pets young forever!”
  2. “Dog medicine needs to taste like cat poop. Period.”
  3. “Accepting a law to ban people owning a dog if they cannot control it at the vet’s office.”
  4. “Declawing for cosmetic reasons. Its cruel.”
  5. “Quit making rabies vaccines mandatory, and quit pushing all other vaccines and toxic heartworm and flea and tick meds.”
  6. “To stop treating only the symptoms, but look deeper into the causes of the current situation. Learn more about vector-borne diseases and what secondary illnesses they cause.”
  7. “Bad/ignorant pet owners.”
  8. “Bring wages for RVT’s to the equivalent of what human nurses make, and stop the toxicity!”
  9. “The entire approach, the cruelty in labs for the sake of learning, breeding for VM schools. Old minded school mentalities. Not everyone should study VM!”
  10. “Universal and mandatory to have licensed medical care providers in the clinic. Licensed, as in, been to school and have a degree in veterinary medicine. Because, how can a place provide adequate medicine without licensed personnel?”

Conclusion

The vet industry is at a turning point. With financial pressures, tough working conditions, corporate influence, and client-related issues, it’s clear that things need to change. Your voices matter, and it’s time for everyone to listen, understand, and work towards a better future for all vet professionals.

Share this article to raise awareness and join the conversation about the urgent need for change in our industry!

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Project dedicated to support and help to improve Veterinary Medicine. Sharing information and raising discussions in the veterinary community.

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