Access to Veterinary Care

The Potter League for Animals advocates for access to veterinary care for all pets regardless of family financial circumstances. 

 I. Why do it? 

There are millions of pets living with families who cannot afford to provide veterinary care. Studies show that the financial inability of pet owners to provide necessary veterinary care is one of the primary reasons for pet surrenders to shelters. Additionally, unmet veterinary needs result in many pets dying prematurely and can result in the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Most pet owners consider their pets to be members of their families and the inability to provide adequate veterinary care for their pets can negatively impact the owner’s physical, mental and emotional health. 

II. Pros 

  • Pets enrich the lives of humans and everyone, regardless of financial circumstances, should be able to experience the unconditional love of a pet, and the joy, support and comfort they bring to their owners and families. The availability of affordable veterinary care for those in financial need is key to making pet ownership viable
  • Access to affordable veterinary care reduces family relinquishments of pets to shelters and the potential occurrence of less than humane outcomes for pets driven by the lack of financial resources needed to provide necessary veterinary care
  • The ability to provide needed veterinary care positively impacts the pet owners mental, emotional, and in some cases physical health
  • Access to affordable veterinary care, regardless of family financial circumstances, reduces suffering for pets in need of care
  • If shelters do not help pets receive treatment while they are in homes, shelters will often find themselves accepting and treating these pets 

III. Cons 

  • These programs are expensive and add increased costs for shelters and animal welfare organizations, resulting in need to increase fundraising initiatives
  • Determining how to appropriately target care to communities and individuals with the most need while directing those who can afford services to private veterinary clinics can be challenging 

IV. Conclusion 

Studies have shown the positive emotional impact that pets have are particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as elderly, children and the homeless who have strong attachments to their pets. The Potter League for Animals is committed to supporting programs to assist those in financial need to obtain affordable veterinary care for their pet(s). 


Access to Veterinary Care Coalition (AVCC) Report dated December 17, 2018 conducted in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) located at the University of Tennessee.