A pet is more than a friend or companion. It is a family member, and when they are sick, everyone suffers. Veterinarian care is expensive and can be out of reach for some families. Some veterinarians have community aid funds. Ask your vet about these options. There are also fundraising websites that help with vet costs.
Access to Veterinary Care
Providing accessible veterinary care can be challenging. It can also be a moral dilemma for veterinarians. The primary barrier to veterinary care for pet owners is financial. Several studies have shown that people are more likely to take steps to get needed medical care for their pets when their finances allow them to do so. However, addressing barriers to care requires more vets. It takes an approach recognizing that humans, pets, and their shared environment are all connected. That requires collaborations among HSNY veterinarians, public health officials, and social service professionals. It also means addressing the broader determinants of health, including economic stability, food security, and housing.
Humans need to teach our children compassion and responsibility towards animals. This will lead to a better future for both humans and animals. Humane education promotes kindness and compassion toward animals and helps prevent animal abuse. Studies have shown that children taught empathy for animals are less likely to engage in antisocial or violent behavior. The “animal turn” has gained prominence in the social sciences, particularly anthropology and sociology. More recently, it has appeared in the educational field, emphasizing posthumanist ontologies and contested spaces of learning where “more-than-human” relations emerge.
The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies to the health and safety of animals. Preventive veterinary care focuses on catching health problems in their early stages, often when they are much easier to treat than if caught later. Preventive veterinary care includes vaccinations, flea, tick, heartworm prevention, and screening for internal parasites and diseases. By doing these things regularly, pets can live longer and happier lives. Spay and neuter programs also play an essential role in preventing animal overpopulation. Additional kittens and puppies increase the risk of disease, injury, or death, adding to strained shelter systems. These clinics help prevent unnecessary suffering for animals and their owners by providing free or low-cost spay and neuter services.
Prevention of Disease
Vaccination, balanced diet, and proper sanitation can protect people and their pets from infectious diseases. Antibiotic resistance is a severe problem because it limits our ability to treat infections. Diseases in food animals threaten human health and economic livelihoods. A recent study deconstructed a stereotype that homeless and vulnerably housed pet owners are neglectful, unaware, and challenging to engage with. In addition, it was demonstrated that veterinarians could successfully amplify human health messaging in these populations through outreach clinics. For example, a client learning about the adverse effects of secondhand smoke on their dog is more likely to change smoking behavior.
Vaccinations, parasite treatment, and other primary medical care help prevent diseases with significant economic impacts. For example, intestinal worms (tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms) are common among pets and can shed eggs into the environment, infecting humans, especially children and immunosuppressed individuals. Preventive worming can be done simply with tablets or spot-on treatments. Free clinics can reduce pet owners’ anxiety levels by reducing fear and stress in pets. This can lead to a more positive experience for the entire family, including the human members. This is a great way to amplify health and social services messaging in communities.