It’s National Pet Day, and at a time when more people than ever are bringing home a furry friend, one veterinary clinic in Dartmouth is putting its profits back into rescuing and rehabilitating animals.
The SPCA Veterinary Hospital offers services, including spaying and neutering, annual checkups, immunizations, flea and tick treatments, and dental work.
The not-for-profit hospital sees its earnings go towards making veterinary care accessible to pet owners in the community.
Dr. Kyla Wuhr has worked at the vet clinic since it opened its doors nearly one year into the pandemic.
After spending 16 years working in a private practice, Wuhr decided it was time for a change. That’s when she joined the team at the Nova Scotia SPCA.
In an interview with CityNews Halifax, Wuhr reflected on the hospital’s first year, noting it was the perfect time to bring this kind of service to the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Wuhr says the vet hospital has become an alternative throughout COVID-19 to low-to-moderate income pet owners who may have suffered from a loss of income over the past two years.
Wuhr noted shelter medicine has evolved over the last decade, shifting from a population problem with healthy puppies and kittens to now seeing pet owners being forced to surrender elderly pets because they can’t afford care with the rising cost of living.
“With this hospital, we're able to help with the veterinary care that people's animals need in hopes that these animals can stay with their owners,” she said. “So that's made a big difference.”
A Nov. 2020 survey from Narrative Research found that 18 per cent of Canadian pet owners welcomed a new pet to their family in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abacus Data also compiled a survey in June 2021 looking at pet ownership in Canada. They found that roughly “900,000 Canadian adults got a pet since the start of the pandemic who didn’t have one before it—three per cent of the population.”
The spike in the number of pets across the country has resulted in vet clinics becoming overwhelmed by demand, with Wuhr noting “the number of people who are getting pets now is getting to the point where there’s way more people with pets than there are veterinarians.”
Wuhr noted that the hospital continues accepting new patients and pet owners are welcome to switch over from their private practice at any time.
“Choosing us as your primary [clinic], that means other pets can get the help that they need,” Wuhr said.