SCARBOROUGH – Animal hospitals and veterinary clinics in Maine are short-staffed, forcing many to cut back hours or worse.
Dogs are a big part of Mikayla Lindsay’s life.
She owns two of them and is a dog groomer, and she’s concerned about the ongoing shortage of prescription medication for pets.
“My other dog, he takes Prozac every day,” Lindsay said. “So if he wasn’t able to get that medication, it would be really challenging.”
“A lot of prescription drugs, in particular, we can’t get,” Veterinarian Dr. James Morrill said. “And we’ve actually even seen quality of life decline because we can’t get those drugs.”
Morrill says a number of pets depend on some of these drugs to survive.
“The kind of ultimate outcome is pet owners are having to make really hard decisions for their pets,” Morrill said. “I can’t watch my pet struggle, so sometimes they have to say goodbye.”
“It’s just like humans,” Lindsay said. “They need these drugs to keep them alive as well, just like people do.”
Other animal hospitals and veterinary clinics are saying the same thing, that they, too, are having a hard time getting prescriptions. One manager says it may take days for them to get some prescriptions, and even then, it’s only a partial order.
There’s often an even longer wait for special pet dietary foods.
Sometimes it takes weeks to get the prescription foods pets need, because like everything else, the supply chain is so backed up.
“A lot of people depend on those prescription diets,” Lindsay said.
“Some of these diets for animals, it’s not as simple as saying ‘Hey, this is a good, comparable thing,’” Morrill said. “A dog and a cat, they like what they like and they hate what they hate.”
To make matters worse, some veterinary clinics have been forced to close or cut back hours over staff shortages, at a time when pet ownership in Maine is peaking.
“There’s a ton of staffing shortages,” Morrill said. “So even since COVID, a number of clinics in our area have sadly even had to shut down.”