Accessible Veterinary Care for Pets Provides Important Care for People, too
A new research study released by Mission Animal Hospital and the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) found that access to veterinary care for companion pets can have a significant impact on a person or family’s quality of life.
“Every day, we see that people rely on their pets for comfort and companionship. That has been never more true than over the last 18 months, as more people have been isolated from their usual social connections,” said Dr. Susan Miller, Mission Animal Hospital’s executive director and founder. “Almost 99% of our clients say that their pets are part of their family. So when a pet is hurt or ill, it can be devastating to a family who can’t afford the necessary care.”
The new study focused on the total social value generated from contributions to Mission Animal Hospital, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit providing veterinary care to pets from low-income families.
The study found that for every dollar contributed toward caring for companion pets in need, there is a total social return of $4.64, including improving quality of life, avoided health care costs, and reduced cost of debt for the pet owner, as well as total veterinary cost savings and avoided costs of sheltering and rehoming surrendered animals when pet owners had to relinquish a pet for whom they couldn’t afford to provide care.
“We’re happy to support this project with Mission Animal Hospital. One of our national goals is to create new avenues to accessible veterinary care, and Mission Animal Hospital is one of the most innovative and effective models that we’ve seen,” said Susan Britt, vice president of shelter and veterinary services at the ASPCA. “These results speak volumes on the importance of reducing barriers to veterinary care for the wellbeing not just for the pet, but also for the family.”
The report analyzed $731,500 in contributed revenue to Mission Animal Hospital in 2020. Those donations helped the organization provide $1,168,480 in subsidized veterinary care for families meeting income criteria (80% of the area median income). Other areas of impact that were leveraged by the donations include:
$1,467,050 in costs saved through improved quality of life of the pet owner, including an increased sense of support and social connectedness;
$233,130 costs saved associated with avoided loneliness and social isolation;
$187,490 in costs avoided due to stress and anxiety from avoided debts from veterinary care bills;
$166,160 in heath care costs saved from reduced risk of hypertension when pet owners are able to keep their pets with them; and
$76,880 in avoided costs for sheltering and re-homing a surrendered pet.
The research was done by Ecotone Analytics, a Minneapolis-based firm that specializes in evaluating evidenced-based interventions. Its researchers analyze and combine external literature of the highest level of evidence with internal organizational data to quantify and project the potential value of an organization’s impact while identifying the people and entities who benefit from that work.
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to help pets and need, and their families, too.