Lubbock vet shortage causing surgeries to be booked out for months

Spay and Neuter procedures at P.E.T.S. Clinic of Lubbock booked up to nine months in advance
It’s not unusual to see more than 40 cats and dogs waiting to be spayed or neutered at P.E.T.S. Clinic of Lubbock.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 9:52 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2023 at 10:17 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Some pet owners are having to wait up to nine months to receive care for their four-legged friends because of a nationwide vet shortage that’s being felt on the South Plains.

It’s not unusual to see more than 40 cats and dogs waiting to be spayed or neutered at P.E.T.S. Clinic of Lubbock.

“It would be amazing to have additional hands to get through some of those surgery requests that we have,” the lead veterinary technician, Kaitlynn Dawson, said.

P.E.T.S. Clinic is a low-cost spay and neuter clinic that also does preventative care. Dawson says without the clinic, some pets in the Hub City may not receive basic and essential care.

“We serve thousands of patients every year and a lot of our clients say they wouldn’t be able to afford veterinary care if it wasn’t for our more accessible option,” Dawson said.

Thousands of four-legged friends are walking through the doors of the clinic, and not having enough help to do procedures has P.E.T.S. clinic booked months in advance.

“The need here is so high,” Dawson said. “Our female cats are booked out eight to nine months, our female dogs are six to eight months, our male dogs we’re booked out two months, and our male cats - we’re booked out about a month.”

There are two vets who help at the clinic but can only be there occasionally.

“If we had more veterinarians, we would be able to be open for maybe another day or at least an evening clinic where that might be a little bit more accessible to some people who work during the day,” Dawson said.

Dawson says one issue that could be contributing to the national vet shortage is education. She says there are about 30 vet schools in the country, and they are very competitive.

“There are a very high number of applicants, but they can only accept so many,” Dawson said. “So, every year there’s only so many vets that will come out of each school.”

Dawson says P.E.T.S. Clinic has been looking for additional vets since it first opened in 2020.