Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane title=
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane
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Source: Santa Barbara Humane

A nationwide shortage of veterinarians and veterinary staff is being felt at Santa Barbara Humane. By some estimates, there are more than 5,000 veterinary job openings throughout the country. Santa Barbara County is no exception, with openings not just in shelter clinics, but also in private practices. At Santa Barbara Humane, there are currently five veterinary positions open.

As a result of the shortage and reduced clinic capacities due to the pandemic, many pet owners must book veterinary appointments weeks or even months in advance. The lengthy wait times have caused people who can afford care with their private veterinarian to choose the high-quality and affordable care at the clinics at Santa Barbara Humane out of desperation to get in sooner. This means a longer wait for families who may require financial assistance that is only available at Santa Barbara Humane.

The clinic is actively recruiting new team members, while working diligently to help provide high quality care and attention to each pet. The organization asks pet owners to please note:

● Same day services are not offered. Please contact Advanced Veterinary Specialists or Central Coast Emergency Vet for emergency care.
● Plan ahead! Book your wellness appointments now for 2022.
● Please be patient with us and other local veterinarians as we all work toward helping to meet the needs of the community!

“Our team is doing tremendous work trying to help as many families as possible,'' said Dr. Katie Marrie, DVM, MS. “We look forward to continuing the great work and expanding our team so we can do more.”


Santa Barbara Humane is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating two campuses located in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Each campus provides care for community-owned and homeless animals, including affordable high-quality veterinary care, compassionate behavior training programs, and a relinquishment program for owners who can no longer care for their pets. Homeless animals receive medical care, shelter, and basic behavior training until their adoption. Because it is a local organization that is not affiliated or funded by the national Humane Society or SPCA, Santa Barbara Humane relies on local donor support to ensure every dog and cat gets the care they need.

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Byzantium Dec 06, 2021 09:04 AM
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

Latest statistics on the growth of pet ownership -highest on record. Led by the Millennials, Americans are having fewer children, but more pet ownership. "The American Pet Products Association (APPA) today announced the release of its biennial National Pet Owners Survey. The 2021-2022 Survey reports pet ownership has increased from an estimated 67% of U.S. households that own a pet to an estimated 70%. Millennials were also revealed to be the largest cohort of pet owners at 32%, followed closely by Boomers at 27% and Gen X at 24%. "

a-1638496331 Dec 02, 2021 05:52 PM
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

I have been a veterinary technician in this town for 20 years and I have never seen the issues we are currently experiencing. There are actually more veterinarians than ever here. Several practices which used to only have 1 or 2 doctors now have 3 or 4. Yet some veterinarians are not taking new clients and we have two emergency clinics no one can get into. I think this has to do with an increase in pet ownership and pet owners putting off routine care or waiting until an emergency to seek veterinary care. This puts a strain on everyone.

Veterinary professionals, especially technicians are grossly underpaid for a highly technical, highly physical, and highly emotional job. Veterinarians make nowhere near what doctors in human medicine make. Owning and running a veterinary practice is incredibly expensive. Because of these factors many simply don’t make it. But Santa Barbara has many long time vets who continue to give their patients quality care.. This is why it’s so important to establish a relationship with a regular private practice vet when you bring your pet home for the first time.

The Humane Society or now Santa Barbara Humane was never intended to replace your regular vet. They offer lower cost spays, neuters and some annual vaccines but when your pet wakes up with an ear infection or a foxtail in the nose you need a regular veterinarian. Those who don’t have one end up in emergency hospitals for issues that could have been handled by their regular vet. Again putting a strain on the whole system.

ChillinGrillin Dec 02, 2021 02:12 PM
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

Many fields with labor shortages have workers who are underpaid and overworked, like trucking or restaurants. I looked up the average regional salary of veterinary assistants and they make less than many restaurant waiters. Plus the ridiculous costs of living here. This isn't SB Humane's fault, it's a national issue. But if companies or nonprofits really need people, they should consider the higher costs and inflation contributing to their problem and offer a living wage and benefits.

PitMix Dec 06, 2021 07:50 AM
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

Non-profits are fundraising like crazy just to keep their doors open. Every week there is at least one fundraising event for that purpose. I think SB is pretty maxxed out on available funds so you are suggesting they increase salaries and then reduce services with a fixed budget? They really do not want to reduce services because that is why they exist.

ZeroHawk Dec 02, 2021 01:50 PM
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

Byz? Most of the country was in a lockdown for extended periods of time, stuck at home...i would certainly think that would be a major contributing factor if any.
Just like the shortage of drivers, there is a shortage of vets in town. I'm fortunate and have a vet i've used for 2 decades in town and still get in just fine, but i know others that are having problems.
I could also suggest Cares 4 Paws. They have a free clinic for pets that is sometimes at the Eagles lodge on Bath Street and Carrillo.
Check their website for more details.

PitMix Dec 02, 2021 10:40 AM
Veterinary Shortage Makes an Impact at Santa Barbara Humane

The other day I was trying to get my dog into the emergency vets and AVS and CARE couldn't take her. VMSG in Ventura couldn't take her. Finally got her accepted at the other emergency vet in Ventura and when we got there they said they couldn't take her.
Finally they agreed to see her for her UTI and were pretty reasonable about the costs and treatment.

So take that suggestion for using AVS and CARE for what it is worth.

There isn't a shortage of Vets, but they have large loans to pay and can't afford to live in SB, just like many other people. One I knew at Adobe just moved back to Wisconsin after she lost her rental here.

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