Over 23 million households across the United States adopted pets during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. That means that almost 1 out of every 5 homes welcomes a new pet. There were plenty of upsides to this, including the housing of otherwise homeless pets and a general increase in owners' mental wellbeing.
However, there is an unforeseen downside to this mass adoption phenomenon. With so many adoptions comes an increased demand for pet medical care—currently there are barely enough vets to cover this burgeoning demand. Mars Veterinary Health, one of the world's largest employers of veterinary professionals, has assembled a team of researchers to look into possible staff shortages across the veterinary field and identify possible solutions to this looming issue.
Essentially, what the researchers found is that too few people are going into the veterinary field to keep up with projected increases in pet ownership and pet medical care demand. Due to the current surges in pet adoption and the limited amount of veterinary graduates each year, Mars Veterinary Health's researchers have projected that there may be a shortage of about 15,000 vets by 2030. This could leave as many as 75 million pets without medical care.
With this frightening number looming on the horizon, Mars Veterinary Health has ramped up its efforts to prevent this scenario from ever becoming a reality. They're proactively combating the coming pet healthcare shortage with a multi-pronged approach: supporting and growing enrollment across American veterinary colleges, researching preventative pet healthcare, developing telehealth for pets, and creating new practice models that may help lessen the strain on the pet medical system.
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With increased efforts and awareness, as well as responsible pet ownership and owner involvement, it is possible to develop novel ways to overcome this projected shortage and ensure that America's pets receive the care they deserve.