Monday, December 05, 2016

Lack of after hours emergency pet care in some rural areas putting owners in tight spots

Astoria, Ore. (Best Places map)
Some rural pet owners facing an emergency are reduced to either driving to an urban center or waiting until the morning to see a local veterinarian, Erick Bengel writes for The Daily Astorian: "It takes a fairly large population center to support around-the-clock emergency clinics. On the North Coast, there simply aren’t enough pet emergencies to justify keeping an animal hospital open through the night."

Five regional vet offices in Clatsop and Pacific counties, with about 58,000 total residents, have an on-call rotation, with each office deciding its hours, Bengel writes. Some take calls all night, some until 10 p.m., but the clinics usually don't remain open all night. Dr. Brad Pope, founder and hospital director at Bayshore Animal Hospital, one of the five, told Bengel, "To have a 24-hour emergency clinic open, to pay somebody to answer the phone two times a night, would never be economically feasible." Dr. Dannell Davis, owner of Astoria Animal Hospital, added that "The people that have the skills, that are willing to work in the middle of the night—guess what—are expensive. You can’t pay them minimum wage. They won’t do it.”

That means pet owners in an emergency most likely have to drive to Portland, about 97 miles from Astoria. That doesn't work for pet owners such as Erin Anderson, who was unable to reach a vet after her cat had a late-night stroke and her night vision problems prevented her from driving to Portland, Bengel writes. The cat died. Anderson told Bengel, “I like the vets here. All the vets are very nice people. I’m not knocking any one of them. I admire what they do. I know it’s tough on a rural area. But it’s tougher on us whose pets die in our arms.” (Read more)

No comments: