Editorial: No after-hours vet care in Cowichan is bad news

One letter writer was worried about post-surgery complications that pets may experience.

Cowichan Valley pet owners better hope nothing happens to their furry friends after their veterinarians’ regular office hours. There is now no service left in the entire Cowichan Valley during this time.

Now, we sympathize with the vets. Nobody wants to be on call all the time. Nobody wants to put in a long day and then have to be ready to run out at a moment’s notice throughout the night. Especially when there are staff shortages, this quickly becomes an unsustainable model that just wears caring people out. We see it in human doctors, too. According to local vet clinics, this is the point we’re at in Cowichan.

But it’s scary to think that anyone needing vet help after hours now is going to have to drive all the way to Nanaimo or Langford. It’s inevitable that there will be sad consequences. We only hope that pet owners will not put their own lives in danger in poor weather to cross the Malahat.

We also hope they won’t be led down the garden path by doctor Google. Try typing an array of symptoms into any web browser and see what results you get (if you haven’t already tried it in a fit of self-diagnosis). It’s not any more definitive for your pet than it was for your uncomfortable rash. Often all it does is scare people unnecessarily. After all, you’re already worried when you sit down and start to type. Very seldom will your search results make you or your pet feel better.

One letter writer was worried about post-surgery complications that pets may experience. Another worry is if a pet is injured, as may happen should they get hit by a car, or attacked by another animal. What if your pet is giving birth and there are complications? All we can do is cross our fingers it doesn’t happen after hours, and if it does, there’s enough time to get to Nanaimo or Langford.

We can only hope that more vets decide in the future to call Cowichan home, and that they’ll be willing to look at banding together to reinstate an after-hours service.

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