Why vets aren’t going north

Ontario Veterinary College Dean Jeff Wichtel meets with veterinary students on the main campus of the University of Guelph, otherwise known as “Barn 37”. (photo courtesy OVC)

There’s a growing problem in rural and remote areas of Ontario. A lack of large animal veterinarians is looming for the region, and the problem will only get worse without strategies to address the impending issue.

Already, farmers and ranchers have identified that large distances and too few vets makes proper veterinary care expensive. Now, answers from vet students on how to encourage them to choose large animal practice and move north is helping shape ideas around what happens next.

Sara Epp, University of Guelph (Supplied/LinkedIn)

Sara Epp, assistant professor with Rural Planning & Development at the University of Guelph, specializes in Northern Ontario’s challenges. She’s gathered answers from several students and compiled them to help layout what barriers exist to get vet students to choose the north.

From added expenses for housing and travel, to not always feeling confident or welcome on farms, some of the challenges are monetary but others are people related. Epp hopes that in hammering out some of these challenges, programs can evolve to offer incentives for new vets to practice in the north and on farms. But the welcoming aspect on farms is something farmers will have to take on as their own personal goal.

Listen now or download for later and hear Sara Epp and Lyndsey Smith discuss more of the findings from Epp’s survey:

Related: Ontario to fund vets for under-serviced areas

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