Kansas faces rural veterinarian shortage, taskforce working to reverse scenario


ROSE HILL (KSNT) – As Kansas and other states across the nation see a vet shortage in rural communities, it could soon get more difficult to get your cat or dog into a vet especially if you live in a smaller town. While a task force is working to change that, they said if the trend continues, it could impact the services for big and small animals

Jessica Hodes owns Hodes Veterinarian Health Center with her husband in Rose Hill. She said in a small community, there is a great need for mixed animal practice. With fewer students interested, she said it leaves rural clinics understaffed. 

“At least in this area, there’s only a few of us that truly do mixed animals, and we see that because our caseload just keeps going up,” said Hodes. 

Dr. Callie Rost, assistant dean of the veterinarian school at Kansas State University, said there have been more applicants this year but not enough. 

“There are a lot of veterinarians in Kansas who would like to hire another veterinarian but there just aren’t enough people graduating across the country to fill all of those positions,” said Rost. 

Dr. Rost said it has the college launching two new programs. The first is SPARK which is to take aspiring veterinarians and bring them into rural communities. The second is SPRINT bringing more exposure to indigenous, native, and tribal students when it comes to becoming vets. 

“It will help just expose them to that way of life and that type of practice, and hopefully keep their interest,” said Rost. 

Hodes said bringing in people at a young age, who are interested in becoming a vet, has helped with retention in her clinic. Both Hodes and Rost said they are hopeful exposure to the field will help fix the shortage. 

“We want them to get there and know that that’s absolutely what they want to do what they’re going to do and also be successful at it,” said Hodes. 

You can find the application for those programs here.

Opportunity for student debt relief while working for in a rural community can be found here.

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