By Andrea Arnold 

Doctor Janet Jones serves the Robson Valley through the Valemount Veterinary Clinic as well as the Jasper area at the Jasper Veterinary Clinic. 

“There is an acute shortage of veterinarians all across Canada,” said Dr. Jones. “This is a crisis that has been building for a long time for many different reasons and has been ignored by provincial and federal leaders until it has reached close to breaking point.” 

The pandemic added to the stress load that already existed for veterinary staff. Longer wait times and shorter facetime with doctors or technicians are not the way that Dr. Janet wants clients to experience appointments.

The influx of people to the Valemount area has added to the pressure felt by the Valemount clinic, as Dr. Jones says that a surprising number of pipeline workers have brought their pets with them. 

“Along with more demand for vet care at the Jasper clinic this has placed a great deal of strain on our staff,” she said. “In Valemount specifically we are further hampered by the short time we are there in a week.”

She says that all across the country there are not enough veterinary professionals. Not only vets, but also technicians are in short supply too. She feels that it is creating physical and mental health issues for staff, and affecting the relationships with clients. 

“Governments at all levels from municipal to federal must step up and recognize the seriousness of this issue and do what they can to help,” said Dr. Jones. “Pets are very important to people and owners are now expecting increasingly sophisticated vet care, all of which puts extra strain on the system.”

She asks that pet owners join in applying pressure on elected officials to do more to fix the problem by making veterinary education more financially possible. She also requests for understanding as they work as hard as possible to provide timely service. “We hope that owners can be forgiving if we occasionally fall short.”