The veterinary profession has raised serious concerns about how the cost of living crisis is affecting people’s ability to seek treatment for their animals.
In The Orkney News of 10th of March we published the views of the UK charity Cats Protection Crisis in Pet Care As Cost of Living Bites.
The BVA’s (British Veterinary Association) latest Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey reveals that almost all (99%) of vets across the UK have seen pets in the last 12 months who should have been brought to them for treatment earlier. This represents a significant increase of almost 20% since 2018 and equates to an estimated 1 in 5 pets not receiving timely treatment.
When asked about the main reasons for the delay, 91% vets reported financial reasons as a key factor. More than half of vets (52%) said the number of clients reporting difficulty covering the cost of preventative veterinary care for their animal had increased compared to 2021. This figure rose to 70% when it came to covering the cost of diagnostic care and treatment.
Responding to these findings, British Veterinary Association President Malcolm Morley said:
“In a week when the national spotlight turns towards Crufts, it’s important to acknowledge that many pet owners are finding it difficult to meet the basic costs of caring for their animals. It’s particularly concerning that vets in practice are seeing increasing numbers of animals with issues that could have been prevented or minimised if treatment had been sought sooner.
“Regular vet check-ups and preventative care may seem costly for many families in the current financial climate, but taking steps now rather than later is the best way to catch any health issues early and keep medical costs to a minimum.
“We urge all pet owners to talk to their vet for advice on simple and affordable steps they can take to keep their animals healthy. These include neutering, keeping up to date on vaccinations, daily teeth cleaning, keeping weight in check, and plenty of exercise.
“The British Veterinary Association encourages pet owners to speak to their vet sooner rather than later if you’re struggling to cover the costs. Vets will always prioritise the welfare of your animal and work closely with clients to make treatment plans tailored to individual circumstances.”
The (BVA) is highlighting the importance of taking simple and affordable preventive steps to keep dogs and other pets healthy, to help minimise medical problems from escalating. The average number of clients vets referred each month to animal charities for rehoming was 1 (rounded up from 0.7) and for free or subsidised veterinary treatment it was 3.