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Central Arkansas continues to struggle with a shortage of veterinarians



Little Rock, Arkansas – The goal of Out West Veterinary Urgent Care, which has been operating on Cantrell for roughly one and a half years, according to practice manager Stephanie Dungey, was to be open round-the-clock, but they haven’t been able to achieve that.

“Quickly, we realized there are just simply no doctors that are able willing to provide that in our area,” said Dungey.

Due to the lack of a vet, the clinic had to close on Sunday.

“Veterinarians are people too,” said Dungey. “So, when they need to go on vacation with their family, or they’re sick you know, it’s a continual having to fill shifts.”

There were still staff members at the clinic who answered calls and offered assistance when they could.

“We’ve had calls today about animals that have been attacked by a dog, animals that are vomiting, but without a doctor you truly can do nothing within the realm of the law with our pets,” said Dungey.

People like Christie Bowman, who just lost one of her pets Slick, are being impacted by clinic hours being curtailed as a result of the vet shortage.

“I believe she passed away have congestive heart failure,” said Bowman.

Around 3:30 in the morning, according to Bowman, Slick started having breathing problems, but none of the clinics she phoned were open.

“I felt so helpless, that we could not help our pet,” said Bowman.

To get Slick to a vet, Bowman had to wait until the following day.

“I called our vet immediately and we took Slick over to our vet and she had already [died],” said Bowman.

Although it has been challenging for Bowman, she has published her story online in an effort to raise awareness of the need for more veterans and stop something similar from happening again.

“I look at Zoey and think I want there to be care for you if something happens after hours,” said Bowman about her other dog.

Additionally, Dungey and the Out West team are doing what they can to recruit more veterans to Central Arkansas.

“We truly have to just know that we’re doing as much as we can on any given day,” said Dungey.


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