It’s certainly not news: Rural veterinarians are in short supply, growing ever more scarce as urban and suburban areas expand. For years, the USDA has incentivized new veterinarians to work in underserved areas by offering student loan repayment funds. Yet many still prefer to practice in a bustling metropolis where pets are plentiful and pay is higher, even if help with educational debt isn’t part of the equation.
But for a select few, serving in a rural area—where everyone knows everyone, life is simpler, and community is important—has infinitely more appeal.
At least, that’s how Dr. Scott Pendleton sees it. A large-animal-practitioner-turned-small-animal-veterinarian, he has spent more than three decades serving Appalachian clients in Harrison and surrounding counties. Being one of only three veterinarians in the area comes with myriad challenges, but like anything else, it also has some sweet perks.
In this episode, Dr. Pendleton recounts his experiences as a rural veterinarian, including what has changed over his 30-year career, as well as what has and might always stay the same. He also explains some of the less-obvious differences between city life and country life, offers advice for individuals interested in working in an underserved area, and shares his predictions for the future of rural veterinary medicine.