Letter: More vet care needed in Cowichan

We want what’s best for our pets

More vet care needed in Cowichan

I would like to respond to Joe Sawchuk’s and Gail Wiley’s letters.

Joe is absolutely right and I agree with everything he says. I am the parent of a wonderful rescue cat (now deceased) and an amazing special needs rescue dog. This is our story.

My dog has problems with chronic bladder infections which require antibiotics. It also requires a visit to the vet, diagnostic testing and a prescription. I know her symptoms and the vet is familiar with her condition, but I still have to bring her in and I can’t get a prescription refill. I understand their reasons and their policies, but it’s frustrating. My cat was 18 years old and her health was starting to fail, so my mom and I knew that she was going to have to be put down. I phoned my vet to book an appointment, but they wouldn’t be able to see her for nearly a month. We decided to try to keep her comfortable until I could get her in.

The next day her health worsened, and my dog came down with a serious bladder infection. I called my vet, but they were not able to see either one of them as they were booked up. They were unable to issue a prescription for my dog without a visit. I called every vet and mobile services vet in the Cowichan area, to see if they could help my girls, but no one was available. My brother and I ended up taking both of them to the Nanaimo emergency. The staff was very kind and sympathetic, they did what was necessary, but it should have never come to this.

My poor cat was scared and she had no idea what was going on. She only knew she was in a cat cage, travelling in a car to a strange place far away. She should have been able to die peacefully in her own home with us and not be afraid, or at least be closer to home. My poor dog was very sick and very scared, but she also had to travel in the car to a strange place far away to be treated. This is a guilt mom and I will always have to live with.

I sympathize with the shortage of vet staff and I commend all of you for your hard work and dedication. I am sorry that you are going through burnout. We want what’s best for our pets, but when we can’t get an appointment, it’s a very helpless feeling. What about those who are not able to get to Nanaimo, or Victoria, because of bad weather? What are we supposed to do, let our animals suffer? This does not make us uncaring, nor responsible owners. Again, we only want the best for our pets.

One thing I’m wondering, we have nurse practitioners for people, what about nurse practitioners for animals? Has this ever been considered? If they could be trained to handle problems such as, broken nail, broken bone, minor ailment, prescription refill, etc. it’s something to think about. It would take some of the stress off of the vets, so they can deal with the more serious issues. I realize that this is questionable, but if it can be done, why not? Maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about our pets if we knew someone could see them, and our vets wouldn’t leave due to overwork.

I dedicate this letter to Sasha and Miracle.

Melissa Black

Lake Cowichan