Glenn Polyn//January 16, 2023
Glenn Polyn //January 16, 2023
Press release: PetSmart Charities
The inability of many families to access veterinary care is a pressing issue facing animal welfare nationally. To combat this, PetSmart Charities announced a commitment of $100 million over the next five years to help break down the geographic, cultural, language and financial barriers that prevent pets from receiving the veterinary care they need to thrive.
Veterinary access impacts the animal welfare industry and individual families in every community in the country. More than 70 percent of homes in the United States now include pets, but 50 million pets in the U.S. lack even basic veterinary care, including spay/neuter surgeries, annual exams and vaccinations. Without regular veterinary care, minor pet health issues often become bigger, costlier problems; and preventable diseases can be passed on to people and other animals. Pet parents may be forced to relinquish their beloved furry family members to already overcrowded animal shelters or be forced to watch them suffer when they can’t access treatment. With pets being universally recognized as beloved family members, the challenges posed by an inability to access veterinary care can have a profound impact.
PetSmart Charities estimates it would cost more than $20 billion annually to bridge the gap for pets in need of veterinary care at standard veterinary prices. More needs to be done to expand availability of lower-cost services, ensure access for remote and bilingual communities and ensure there are enough veterinarians able to perform a variety of services through clinics and urgent care centers. To help lead the charge, the nonprofit is taking a leadership role in marshaling partners and stakeholders to develop and execute solutions to solving the gap in veterinary care access.
“The challenges facing the veterinary care system are vast and varied and no single organization can solve them alone,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “Through PetSmart Charities’ commitment, we plan to invest further in our partners and build new alliances to innovate solutions across the entire system — while also funding long-term solutions already in place such as low-cost vet clinics and veterinary student scholarships. We’re confident this approach will produce sustainable change within the veterinary care industry. Our best friends deserve access to adequate health care like any family members.”
Barriers to Veterinary Care
While affordability remains the most prominent barrier to veterinary care, additional challenges contribute to the current veterinary care gap, including:
How PetSmart Charities Will Innovate Solutions
Through a $100 million commitment in funding over the next five years, PetSmart Charities will take a multifaceted approach to improve access to adequate veterinary care for all pets, including: