Critter Crusaders reacts to overnight ward closure at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — From Monday night through Tuesday, Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Cedar Rapids had to close its emergency pet hospital.

They announced the sudden closure of its Facebook page. Leaving pet owners with no options in times of crisis.

Critter Crusaders said he had to transport animals to Des Moines for overnight care. The nonprofit that typically serves homeless animals said the shortage of vets and vet techs was a real problem.

Critter Crusaders said he is seeing a growing trend of less availability of 24/7 pet care.

“What we’re seeing is in Iowa City and an emergency clinic closed, in the Quad Cities an emergency clinic has gone from 24/7 to a day care clinic. Where you need to be out at 5 a.m. It’s happening all over the region. It’s not isolated to Cedar Rapids,” said Jan Erceg, medical coordinator for Critter Crusaders.

Erceg said job demands could have an impact.

Turnover for veterinarians is twice that of doctors, and vet techs have one of the highest turnovers for any health care position – that’s according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“The vets we talk to all over Iowa basically say the same thing. They can’t hire because of job stress. Especially in emergency medicine,” Erceg said.

Jessica Hill is studying to become a veterinary technician at Kirkwood Community College.

She knows there will be plenty of job opportunities when she graduates, but the stress on some animal workers could affect her as well.

“I think it’s going to be tough if it’s not fixed quickly because it’s going to drive more people out of the profession,” Hill said.

For concerned pet owners… Erceg says his best advice is to plan ahead in case the emergency service isn’t available.

“I would suggest calling Blue Pearl if you live in that area and this is your emergency clinic. Because they will have people answering the phone and directing you to where you need to go. “said Erceg.

Erceg said those redirects would most likely go to the Des Moines area.

Blue Pearl officials say the Cedar Rapids site will be closed again overnight Tuesday and Wednesday. They said after that from the 17th they will open at 9am and have no closings, coming back 24/7 until the 31st. On the 31st they will be open from 7am to 7pm then back to 24/7 thereafter.

They did not specify the reason for the closures.

Copyright 2022 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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