Vet staff, others discuss the need for 24/7 emergency pet care in the CSRA


AIKEN, S.C./THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF) — Some pet owners say they’re concerned about the lack of overnight veterinarian care in our area. They say they have to drive several miles to get medical aid for their furry family members.

“On many occasions, we have to send them to farther clinics such as Columbia, South Carolina or Athens, Georgia,” Pam Wester told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk about the situation.

A dog called Saul is one of the many animals receiving care at the Wester Veterinary Clinic.

Saul, a dog rescued by Southern Souls Rescue. His ear is being worked on by the staff at Wester Veterinary Clinic.

The incident which happened at night is shining a light on the need for 24/7 emergency veterinary care in the CSRA.

This dog is not alone. He’s one of many whose owners took to social media sharing their concerns about the need for pet care during emergencies. Many of the stories are all the same — animals having what could potentially be life-threatening situations with no one available.

Wester Veterinary Clinic has an on-call service, just like many others, but that also getting swamped. “Unfortunately, we can’t possibly accommodate all the emergency calls that come to us for our established clients, especially we do try to see them,” Wester said. “But many times we have to refer them to an emergency clinic. Unfortunately, the emergency clinics in Augusta are not always available to see the clients,” she added.

Some vets say the shortage of around-the-clock care is because of low pay and working conditions.

“I know that staffing has been difficult in the entire veterinary field for a while to be able to get enough veterinarians and qualified staff members that are able to work the hours that we do,” Dr. Cindy Vogel shared.

“It’s hard to see people posting about their sick animal and they can’t get them in for another month because the vet is booked out and they can’t go to the emergency clinic because it’s closed. It’s just it shouldn’t be this way,” Former veterinarian technician Devin Ervin added.

NewsChannel 6 spoke with some pet owners about their thoughts on the need for a 24/7 emergency clinic in our area.

“I’m on Facebook and I see a lot of animals that need care, but they have to take them where they can take them. And it would really be a big help. Some of them are in real, real bad shape and they need a doctor now not wait until Monday kind of thing,” Gloria Smith said.

Gloria Smith’s pet

“I think they’re absolutely necessary as someone who raises farm animals, as well as dogs. Accidents happen any time of the day or night. And if you don’t want to lose your animal, you need to have 24-hour emergency care for them, just like we do for humans,” Linda Ghoele added.

Linda Ghoele’s pet Fred

“So when you have an emergency, please reach out to your primary veterinarian, the one you see on a regular basis. And if they’re not able to see you, then please reach out to an emergency clinic because we all care about your pet,” Marlee Rodgers added.

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