Glenn Polyn//January 26, 2023
Glenn Polyn //January 26, 2023
Press release: Purina
Clients who love their pets but can’t afford to pay for vital veterinary care represent a significant source of burnout and stress for compassionate veterinary practitioners. To help ease this burden, Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets is partnering with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) to help expand the AVMF Reaching Every Animal with Charitable Care (REACH) program, which offers grants to veterinarians who provide immediate care for owners experiencing financial hardship.
For each purchase made on Purina Pro Plan’s VetDirect website from January 15 through June 30, Purina will donate $1 to the AVMF to support the REACH program, up to $200,000, so veterinarians don’t have to choose between their patients and their practice.
The Cost of Caring for Pets
While the global pandemic has worsened the situation, the stress caused by the financial hardships of clients is not a new problem; in a survey of veterinarians published in JAVMA in 2017, 77 percent of respondents reported that the economic limitations of clients (regardless of whether those limitations were by choice or necessity) were either a moderate or primary contributor to their level of professional burnout.
“Over the past several years, many veterinary practitioners have been riding a roller coaster of emotional and operational challenges in their practices, between working through a global pandemic, staffing challenges, and — most recently — inflationary pressures making it harder for clients to make ends meet,” notes Dr. David Granstrom, assistant executive director at AVMF. “The goal of the AVMF REACH program is to remove some of the difficult decisions practitioners must make when a client can’t afford lifesaving care for their pet. Thanks to the donation from Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, more of their answers can be ‘yes’ instead of ‘no.'”
The REACH program offers grants to AVMA members who provide low or no-cost veterinary services for the treatment of illness or conditions requiring immediate care for owners experiencing financial hardship. The program is soon expanding its eligibility criteria to go beyond helping underserved clients affected by COVID-19, disaster relief and domestic violence to those with other, more general financial needs.
“Veterinarians today face so many challenges, from working extra-long hours to providing quality care for their patients to keeping their own staff members motivated. We believe this program not only honors the calling of veterinarians but will also directly alleviate some of the everyday stress practitioners feel as they make decisions regarding patient care,” says Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition), Director of Veterinary Technical Communications for Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets.
In 2022, the AVMF funded more than 600 grants, assisting more than 700 animals, through its charitable care programs. The Foundation is hopeful that the additional funding, along with changes to the program, will result in a significant increase in participation and the number of animals helped.