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County joins discussion on veterinarian shortage

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association says there's a growing need for more vets and vet techs

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Reeve Angela Aalbers and councillor Gord Krebs will be meeting with Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) representatives regarding efforts to address a current shortage of veterinarians in rural Alberta.

Council passed a motion at its recent regularly scheduled council meeting approving the meeting.

The meeting will allow the county representatives to speak with association officials about what support the municipality may be able to provide the association in efforts to bring more veterinarians to rural areas.

The ABVMA is the professional regulatory body responsible for the regulation of the profession of veterinary medicine in Alberta under the authority of the Veterinary Profession Act.

The association is responsible for ensuring all veterinarians and veterinary technologists in the province are qualified to practice.

There are about 3,780 veterinarians and veterinary technologists, and about 550 veterinary practices in the province (as of 2019).

In a letter sent to the county, ABVMA official said there is a growing need for more veterinarians and veterinary technologists.

“Without an increase in the number of veterinarians practising in our rural communities there is risk to both agriculture operations and animals care in small towns which impacts long term growth and development within these rural communities,” officials said.

“Attraction and retention of rural-based veterinary medical professionals is not keeping pace with demand. While some student are choosing large animal practice, the demands of rural practice are leading to burnout and long term retention issues.”

There are currently not enough veterinary seats in the Alberta post-post-secondary institution UCVA in Calgary nor enough post-secondary opportunities for students choosing large animal practice, officials said.

The association is asking rural municipalities to engage in dialogue about what can be done to increase the number of veterinarians and veterinary technologists practising in rural Alberta.

The association hopes those discussions will achieve a number of things, including bringing awareness to rural elected officials of issues surrounding veterinary shortages and educating elected officials on the impact of the shortages.

Association officials also propose to “discuss how elected officials can support and collaborate with the ABVMA to address issues and advocate to the government of Alberta for implementation of feasible, sustaining solutions.”

A date for Aalbers and Krebs to meet with ABVMA officials has not yet been set.


Dan Singleton

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