It is estimated that 29 million dogs and cats live with families that participate in food stamp programs and there are millions more middle–class pet owners that, due to living expenses, may live paycheck to paycheck. With limited discretionary funds, many families forgo veterinary care for their pets.
These families deserve the companionship and love that comes through a relationship with their pets and they also should be able to access veterinary care when their pets need it.
Maddie’s Fund funded a study by the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition (AVCC) to better understand barriers to veterinary care. Here are some of the study’s key findings:
- Cost of care is still the most significant barrier to pet ownership.
- Not knowing where to access care is frequently a problem.
- Younger pet owners are more affected.
- Preventative and sick care were reported as more often presenting a barrier than emergency care due to finances.
- Prevention of zoonotic diseases is imperative to protect the health of the human members of the family and community.
The study raises a number of questions needing further research. Central to these questions is the need to better understand the impacts of barriers to veterinary care among diverse, underserved pet owners, and how to provide quality veterinary care for the most families while controlling costs.
The veterinary industry is aware that this is a significant problem for millions of pets and have acknowledged that a new model of veterinary care will help reduce the number of pets not receiving any care. +
To read the entire study, please visit: https://avcc.utk.edu/avcc-report.pdf