Dr. Sarah Lowry runs her own traveling practice, Day Six Veterinary, and has more than a decade as a veterinarian practicing everywhere from clinics to barns and treating everything from cats and dogs to llamas and cows.
"Mobile veterinary services. It's kind of 50-50," said Dr. Sarah Lowry. "I definitely specialize in backyard kinds of pets on small farms. I'm all for eating animals, but I'm also all for giving them the best life we have."
As she preps for several calls a day, she discussed the vet shortage. It has become a big issue throughout New York.
"All the vets coming out of vet school or even my age don't want to buy a practice," she said. "We have huge debt."
Even though there are only 32 schools nationwide to become a veterinarian, those who would want to come home to the Empire State have options.
"You know, luckily we not only have, you know, some ability to go to Rochester, Cornell," said Lowry. "I send people across the border all the time."
But getting people through programs, trying to get them to work and live here, that’s half the issue. As with most things, it comes down to dollars and cents.
"If you had to pick between being a cow vet that in Western New York or working for Banfield in New York City, that's a difference of $100,000," she explained.
You have to look at it through the eyes of the vets and customers.
"Just like if you're going to have a baby, right? You're gonna find a daycare, you're gonna find a pediatrician, but nobody thinks before they get a puppy or a goat — do I have a vet?" she asked. "I just don't think people want to spend money on their pets because the cost of vet medicine comes out of your pocket."
Dr. Lowry loves her practice and clients but hopes that most people take ownership seriously from your standard four-legged friends to your barnyard family.
"A pet is not a necessity, it’s not a requirement. It is a luxury," she said.
Educating clients will help with shortage tensions wherever your office may be. Lowry and many others impacted by the shortage say the rest is working itself out.
"All of these are flexes though. [As] I said when I graduated from vet school in 2010, you couldn't find a job. There were way too many vets. You know, that was only 12 years ago," Lowry added. "So we'll shift again. This isn't a forever problem."