Sidelined, Hawaii veterinarians are experiencing their very own hardships

KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) – A Hawaiian veterinarian says veterinary clinics are overwhelmed by the high demand. It puts a lot of strain on the staff and they ask the community for compassion and patience.

“I euthanized 16 pets in 13 days and had to go away for a while,” said Dr. Jenna Wallace.

Wallace wanted to be a vet when she was a little girl. She is now helping other vets in Hawaii so they can take some time off.

“We may be fully booked, but not because we don’t want to see your pet. That’s because we can’t physically see 30 to 40 patients a day while providing good care, ”Wallace said.

A 2019 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that female veterinarians are up to 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person. Wallace said the pressures have only gotten worse since the pandemic started.

“Since the arrival of COVID, we’ve had about 12.5 million more pets in the US. But we don’t have any vets and we don’t have any vets, ”she said. “In 2020 we lost three vets and two vets in one week.”

Wallace said as a budding veterinarian she was unaware of the backlash that came with the job.

“Here in Hawaii … I had a colleague who was threatened and her staff threatened to be shot with a gun,” she said. “My license has been threatened.”

She said many vets are often in debt, burned out, stressed and underpaid.

“Most of us have at least $ 300,000 in student loans. I have over $ 300,000 myself and make about $ 80,000 to $ 90,000 a year, ”she said. “Veterinarians make about the same as McDonald’s. They clean urine and feces, they get bitten, they only make $ 13 or 14 an hour, some of them. Then they go outside and are treated badly by the animal owners. “

Dr. Wallace doesn’t know the solution, she just wants pet owners to be more aware and more understanding.

“There’s something called ‘Not One More Vet’ and it’s a group that only aims to prevent suicide among veterinarians,” said Dr. Wallace.

“Please be much kinder and more caring to your vet. They do not know which room we have just come out of, what we have done, whom we have comforted or which patient we have just lost. “

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