Emergency vet cutting hours back due to staffing shortage

[anvplayer video=”5188155″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — News10NBC has a heads up for pet parents.

The region’s only emergency animal hospital is cutting back its hours. News10NBC’s Eriketa Cost was there Wednesday.

Veterinary specialists and emergency services used to be open 24/7. Now, if your pet has an urgent medical issue overnight, you’ll have to drive to Buffalo or Syracuse.

If your pet needs medical care in the middle of the night, you can no longer turn to VSES in Brighton. The practice says it just doesn’t have enough staff to care for pets 24/7.  They say backfilling these positions will take time because of a nationwide shortage of veterinary staff.

Patrick Keefe brought in his cat for an eye appointment Wednesday — driving in from Geneva. If his cat needs treatment overnight, the closest option would have to be Syracuse.

“I’d hate to think it was a real emergency, I’ve never had to come here with an injured dog or something like that,” says Keefe. “But you know, there’s so much need for new veterinary technicians, trained people all over the country, — it’s a big issue.”

Gail Koch lives in the city, and also volunteers with 19th ward community cats. She says she knows firsthand how short-staffed the industry is.

“It’s terrifying to me,” says Koch. “Because not only do I have six pets of my own, but I care for a lot of feral cats and stray and injured cats. We are at a loss to know what to do. COVID virus caused a lot of people to go out and get more pets, and a lot of veterinarians decided to retire in that time.”

VSES is open Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The hospital will continue to accept drop-offs for scheduled specialty and surgery appointments from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Another option is the Pittsford Animal Hospital — offering urgent care by appointment.