Veterinary clinics call for help amid shortage

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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – Finding help for your furry friend may be more difficult than usual, as area vet clinics struggle to keep up with high demand.

In 43 years of experience, Dr. Jim Guntharp has never been so understaffed as he recalls a time when applications flooded his office.

“I remember a time when I was turning down a lot of vet applications because they didn’t meet my standards,” Guntharp said. “Now I would take almost anything or anyone who could wear a white coat.”

Guntharp is the owner of Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital and said he didn’t have enough veterinary technologists and couldn’t find the right dog foods, leaving him in a bind.

The shortage of vet techs is a planning issue, but Guntharp said the supply shortage was more extreme.

Owners struggle to find foods to combat their pet’s various skin, heart, or even kidney issues.

“There’s probably about 15 to 20 of these foods that we just can’t get right now,” Guntharp said. “It’s all because of the out-of-stock manufacturing, they just can’t make them.”

Staffing shortages as well as a lack of supplies all started in 2020, Guntharp says, and the industry still hasn’t recovered.

“It started with covid, a lot of people got new pets that had never had pets before and people got stimulus money and they’re willing to spend more. money and bringing them in when they normally wouldn’t,” Guntharp said.

Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital has about a month long waiting list for an exam and even a little longer for surgery, unfortunately there is no end in sight.

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