Did you know that access to veterinary care is a societal problem – impacting millions of people who consider their pet a family member? That’s why we granted the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Social Work Program for Pet Health Equity a $391,420 grant to study access to care in 2017.
Now that the research is complete, we’re eager to share the results with you. The goal of the Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Current Practices, and Public Policy study was to better understand the barriers to veterinary care experienced by pet owners across the socioeconomic spectrum; in addition to understanding the knowledge, attitudes and practices veterinarians have regarding access to veterinary care.
Just few of the many findings include:
- One out of four pet owners experience barriers to veterinary care.
- Households with lower incomes are more likely to own more than one pet.
- When care is sought, it is most frequently sought from private veterinary clinics.
- 88% of pet owners agree that their pets are family members.
- Younger pet owners are more likely to have pet insurance.
- Younger pet owners are less likely to have their pet spayed or neutered but also more likely to take advantage of free/reduced cost services.
- Dogs are less likely to be spayed/neutered than cats.
As a result of this research, we’ve since granted $2.8 million to support research and development of AlignCare, a health care system designed to improve access to veterinary care for underserved families.
“Animal welfare’s primary focus has been to find homes for homeless pets. AlignCare helps the industry take its next big step in revolutionizing the status and well-being of companion animals by helping to keep pets in their homes,” said Dr. Laurie Peek, Executive Leadership Team for Maddie’s Fund®. “We are delighted to fund this project as it honors the human-animal bond and the love that pets and people have for one another.”
“Thanks to Maddie, millions of pets and their people will benefit from the ‘one health’ approach that is AlignCare by sustainably gaining access to veterinary care,” said Michael Blackwell, Lead Investigator and former Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Lack of access to veterinary care is the greatest animal welfare crisis affecting owned pets in the United States. We can manage our way out of this problem by making evidence-based decisions, ultimately achieving pet health equity and improving family and community health and well-being.”
Read the full report, and don’t miss our webcast Access to Veterinary Care: A National Family Crisis on Thursday, February 21st at 9pm ET.