Report by Julia Barthram
Vets are warning a huge surge in demand is putting unprecedented pressure on the profession and causing some surgeries to close their doors to new clients.
3.2 million households are believed to have acquired new pets since the start of the pandemic. New export rules following the UK exit from the EU have also increased the workload on veterinarians.
In the North East and North Yorkshire the number of job vacancies being advertised has quadrupled from pre pandemic levels.
Wendy Rowntree is the head vet and owner of King's Road Veterinary Practice in Sunderland which has stopped taking on new clients. The practice has been advertising for a new vet for six months but received only one application.
The British Veterinary Association says veterinary practices across the country are struggling with staff shortages and high demand for services. Many practices are reporting being overwhelmed by new registrations and, in order to look after their existing patients, some practices are having to close their books to new clients.
In the past many job vacancies were filled by vets trained in the EU but that number has fallen following the ending of freedom of movement when the UK left the EU.
The Government says the number of vets registered to work in the UK has slightly increased in the past three years but does recognise the shortage caused by increased demand.