Closure of Shelburne-area vet clinic worries animal owners

Amy Woolvett amywoolvett@thecoastguard.ca
Published on January 6, 2016

Vet clinic closures worries pet owners

©Amy Woolvett photo

SHELBURNE -  The unexpected temporary closure of the Jordan Branch Veterinary clinic last month has left pet owners and animal groups scrambling.

Two major issues are happening at Jordan Branch Clinic:  the septic system needing to be replaced and the business may be for sale.

In the meantime, pet owners have had to travel to Bridgewater or Yarmouth to seek any emergency care.

The closest available veterinary services are in Barrington with a veterinarian available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only.

Pet Projects is a grass roots organization that spays and neuters feral cats they rescue throughout eastern Shelburne County. It’s feeling the impact of the temporary closure.

“While we understand the need for the closure,” said Rita Crosbie, a volunteer with Pet Projects,  “we, like all clients of the clinic, are concerned regarding the current situation.”

Pet Projects has had a close and collaborative working relationship with the vet, often partnering with the clinic and receiving services at a reduced cost, she said.

“Not having access to our local vet means that costs increase… so we can do less with the same money… and any emergencies we are involved in means a slower response time to real treatment,” said Crosbie.

She said this could add to the suffering of an animal.

“There is a real need for veterinary services in Shelburne and a demand for those local services,” said Crosbie.

She said the group is seeing a strain on its resources including time and money.

“Currently we are taking things case-by-case and referring people to other vets in the area and helping all ways we can,” she said.

Crosbie said the board will be reviewing the situation and looking at ways to improve matters.

“We hope that veterinary care can be provided in Shelburne sooner rather than later.”

For Sylvia Mancini, the temporary closure and reduction of service has been detrimental to her way of life.

She is owns a registered hobby kennel where she breeds dachshund puppies in Shelburne.

“I felt the first impact a couple of years ago when (the veterinarian) first left,” she said.

The owner of the veterinary clinic left more than two years ago with locum vets filling in some of the gap in her absence.

After-hours vet service has been unavailable at the clinic during that time and Mancini had to make the decision not to breed in winter months in case there was an emergency.

One of her dogs, Hope, went into labour with two pups not long after the loss of a permanent vet in the area.  She had complications and Mancini was in the car driving to the closest vet, 90 minutes away.   

“She lost one,” said Mancini.  “If the weather would have been bad I would have lost all three.”

She said it could be the simple factor of bad weather preventing an owner from going on the roads to receive emergency medical treatment for their pets.

“Human healthcare is important but so is animal healthcare,” she said.  “This town is going to die out because of these losses in services.”