- FOR ALL PET OWNERS –
AFTER-HOURS VETERINARY SERVICES ARE
CHANGING IN PRINCE GEORGE EFFECTIVE
Starting July 1, 2022, after-hours urgent veterinary services in Prince George will be changing due
to critical staffing shortages. This is an unfortunate circumstance which weighs heavily on the
members of every veterinary practice and team in our community. A group of veterinary clinics in
Prince George has been working together to provide urgent-care services. The After-Hours Urgent
Care Group members are:
• Hart Family Veterinary Clinic • Prince George Veterinary Hospital
• Ospika Animal Hospital • Murdoch Veterinary Clinic
• College Heights Veterinary Clinic • Birchwood Veterinary Clinic
EFFECTIVE JULY 1ST, 2022 - NEW AFTER-HOURS PET EMERGENCY SERVICES WILL NOW BE:
• Weekdays to 10pm
• Weekends and Statutory Holidays 8am - 10pm
• Emergencies outside of regular vet hours and these after-hour emergency options, people will
need to connect with VetTriage online OR go to a 24 hours Emergency Facility (Kelowna, Vancouver,
Even though this group has been working together, Prince George does not have a true 24-hour
emergency facility. The closest ones are in Kelowna, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The Prince
George After-Hours Urgent Care Group has been working together for many years to offer a solution
to emergencies: a shared after-hours option that often has a veterinarian working a full day at their
regular schedule, taking on the emergency role throughout the night with little to no sleep, and then
continuing with their daily hours the following day.
Throughout this past year the region has lost approximately 25% of their veterinary professionals,
this is compounded with the fact that before this year, we still did not have enough veterinarians to
service all of the pets in Prince George.
In today’s climate almost every industry is battling a shortfall of workers and this industry is no
exception. The numbers are now hitting a critical level and in order to continue to provide quality care
during the day, there is an immediate need to limit after hours availability.
All hospitals and clinics are working together to help one another and to help our community, but
burnout is still happening. Doctors and technicians are continually leaving the region, if not the
profession entirely. Burnout in this industry has been an ongoing problem and has hit our area with
There are a few factors happening that are contributing to this critical level.
• A severe lack of doctors.
On top of BC’s need for more veterinarians, northern British Columbia has additional challenges
recruiting these professionals to our communities.
• Prince George is a hub for the north, but there is no Emergency Clinic here.
In addition to the immediate needs within Prince George, surrounding communities are also
struggling to support their call volumes and unfortunately this ends up pushing their patients into
our area. This adds more stress and strain on local veterinary teams. The clinics of Prince George are
not staffed or medically equipped to function as emergency 24-hour care facilities.
• The After-Hours Urgent Call system is often used inappropriately.
A high percentage of emergency calls are not true emergency cases, much like what has been
happening in the human ERs for many years. While many situations can be distressing to pet
owners, they are not so urgent that they need to be seen outside regular office hours.
What is happening to help deal with these issues.
Although changing the urgent-care after hours availability may appear like a step backwards, it
really is a solution that will help keep doctors healthy and working in our community.
All who participate in this After-Hours Urgent Care Group have invested tremendously in our
industry, pets, and clients.
There is no short-term fix to this shortfall of available doctors. The Prince George and BC Chamber of
Commerce, The Regional District, representatives from UNBC and local political representatives have
been engaged and are willing to help be a voice for our concerns.
Many clinics have started to use Vet Triage (www.vettriage.com) to help pet owners with triaging through an online option.
This helps sort out the life-threatening emergencies
from those that are stable enough to seek care during office hours the following day. This is an
attempt to take some emergency burden off the local veterinarians.
What we are asking of the public.
For understanding and compassion as we traverse this difficult time.
Reach out to your MLA and other government officials and ask them to develop plans to avert
further crisis measures becoming necessary.
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