Original Published on Aug 08, 2022 at 09:10

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Not only do the Alberta Pound and Rescue Centre and the Medicine Hat SPCA use the Animal Medical Centre in Dunmore, Alberta for vet services, but so now does the Brooks Animal Protection Society. APARC had been with the clinic for a couple of years, while Brooks moved over in January and the SPCA just over a month ago.

Samantha Lole of Animal Medical Clinic stated, “We are trying to help out as many rescues as we can because we don’t want all those animals sitting in shelter being unvetted, which opens the door for diseases to come in.”

Aside from vet services to the three rescue centres, the clinic is also providing the low-cost spay/neuter program for APARC and the SPCA, which is partially funded by the City of Medicine Hat.

“The staff at AMC are all doing extra hours to try and help catch up with the program,” explained Lole. “On holiday Monday they came in to spay cats and this weekend there will be eight cats and one dog surgery done to try and catch up.”

While no new animals are currently being accepted into the program for this month, there was still a large number that needed to be done.

The Bow Valley Companion Vet Clinic in Brooks, which Brooks Animal Protection Society was using, closed at the end of January this year due to a shortage of veterinarians. Shelter manager Laurie Callaghan explained they reached out to a couple of other clinics but no one could take the shelter on. Thankfully, a vet from Bow Valley moved to Dunmore, which is how the connection was made.

“I know it’s a long way, and trust me our vet bills are triple compared to what they were before, and then we have to buy gas,” stated Callaghan.

The move has almost bankrupted the shelter but since there is nobody else available, they have no choice. The Bow Valley clinic was private and could provide special rates to the Brooks Animal Protection Society, but AMC is corporate and has set rates. Thus, on top of the gas, the shelter is paying more for vet care. Worse yet, they are at full capacity in Brooks and aren’t accepting any surrenders at this time.

Callaghan suggests there is a vet shortage not only in Alberta but across Canada. The clinic in Dunmore has enough vets right now, according to Lole, but are short of support staff, such as veterinarian technicians.

“We are trying our best,” said Lole. “We are doing the weekend hours so that doesn’t take away from our regular clients during the week because we are quite busy with them as well.”

This item reprinted with permission from the News, Medicine Hat, Alberta