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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Critical Capacity with Little Access To Vet Support

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Without a full-time veterinarian for almost a year, Palm Valley Animal Society has been feeling the impact of loss of veterinary services. Image for illustration purposes
Without a full-time veterinarian for almost a year, Palm Valley Animal Society has been feeling the impact of loss of veterinary services. Image for illustration purposes

Texas Border Business

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EDINBURG, Texas – Without a full-time veterinarian for almost a year, Palm Valley Animal Society has been feeling the impact of loss of veterinary services, but recent data released by the Veterinary Care Accessibility Project verifies what PVAS has known all along. The RGV has a serious access to care issue when it comes to veterinary services, and the result is a skyrocketing pet population that the community cannot support.

According to the research, Hidalgo County, Texas has an accessibility score of 9 out of 100. Possible scores range from 0 (care is nearly inaccessible to 100 (care is very accessible). The report states that there are only 17 veterinary clinics in the county to serve an estimated pet population of over 300,000. Furthermore, Hidalgo County is surrounded by counties with the same or even lower access to veterinary care, noting that San Antonio and Houston are the closest locations with reasonable access to care.

“What we hear from pet parents is that they are often waiting months to get animals vaccinated and spayed or neutered, and emergency care is so scarce that it’s become financially out of reach for many,”  says PVAS Executive Director Donna Casamento. “The result is that sick animals are suffering and our pet population is out of control.”

Visiting vets from other areas in Texas and even out of state have been doing their best to assist PVAS with the overwhelming demand for services. With more than 1,200 pets currently in custody, the need in the shelter is incredible. We encourage any vets in the area to reach out if they are interested in helping!

“Even though we’ve been without a vet on staff, we still are working to provide services to the community,” says Casamento. “We get asked every day about opportunities for spay and neuter, and we are at a loss to get this accomplished without having more veterinarians in our community.” 

Monthly low-cost wellness clinics and the March partnership with PetcoLove, Heal Housecall Vets, Hidalgo County, City of Edinburg and many others did allow for free vaccinations for 2,000 pets in the Valley, though many people waited for hours and still weren’t able to access the vaccinations they needed for their pets. 

“The RGV wants to take care of pets,” concludes Casamento, “but without veterinarians, we are just spinning our wheels and not getting any traction.”

Read more detail about the research and how other counties in the RGV are impacted at https://www.accesstovetcare.org.

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