The pandemic made Arizona's veterinarian shortage worse, but help is on the way

By Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - 10:58am

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Prior to COVID-19, Arizonans were facing a shortage of veterinarians. The first doctor of veterinary medicine program in Arizona only developed 10 years ago — the first class graduating from the Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2018. The University of Arizona added a program, but the state’s growth coupled with changing pet owner habits during COVID led to a critical shortage of vets.

Arizona responded by passing a bill incentivizing in-state veterinary education and service after graduation. It won’t be long before the effects of the bill will be seen, but in the meantime vet appointments are hard to come by and clinics of all sorts are stretched to their limits.

Dr. Melissa Thompson with a kitten.
AZ Humane Society
Dr. Melissa Thompson.

The Show spoke with Dr. Melissa Thompson, vice president of medical operations with the Arizona Humane Society, about what she’s experiencing and hearing from others in the region’s veterinary community.

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