Vets must be offered better pay and conditions to fill empty jobs, it has been claimed.
According to British Veterinary Association figures, 23% of empty positions in Britain took more than six months to fill.
One vet blamed recruitment problems on low wages and unsociable hours.
Ex-president of the British Veterinary Association's Welsh branch, Robat Idris Davies, agreed.
He said part of the problem lay with vets dropping out of the profession.
"It's a case of trying to cut down the wastage and improve the work-life balance," he said.
"We are a profession that has evolved from the James Herriot days where longer hours were the norm to a stage where we have not quite got down to a 40-hour week because there is an obligation to provide an out-of-hours service."
Malan Hughes, 27, of Y Ffor, Pwllheli, who has been a vet for three years, said: "We've got to go through a veterinary course of five years and at the end of it the pay doesn't reflect this.
"The hours are long and you're often on call. It's not something that appeals to many."
A new vet can expect to be paid about £30,000 a year.
Ms Hughes said the job could be very emotional, sometimes including having to put animals to sleep.
Robat Idris said the association had seen an increase in vets with mental health issues.
"People are under a lot of pressure," he said.
Ms Hughes said the way university students were taught needed to be reviewed.
"When I did my training, much of the work I did was paperwork, and it was later on that I had to go into the 'real world'.
"You could do the majority of your course without interacting or communicating with anyone," she said.
But Ms Hughes said most of her work involved talking to families about their pets.
The Welsh Government declined to comment.