Aimee St.Arnaud - how to improve access to veterinary care

Guest: Aimee St.Arnaud is director of National Veterinary Outreach for Best Friends Animal Society. She previously was Director of Programs at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance, was a Program Manager at PetSmart Charities, and founded Humane Ohio, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. She is also co-owner of Open Door Veterinary Care and Community Pet Care Clinic.

Main question: How can animal welfare organizations improve access to veterinary care in their communities?



  • The inability to afford veterinary care has become one of the most common reasons for the surrender of pets to shelters. Finding ways to provide needed veterinary and other services to keep pets with their people is increasingly falling to animal welfare organizations and will likely be part of our work for the foreseeable future.

  • Because pets have measurable benefits to human health and wellbeing, it’s more cost effective for entire communities to keep pets with their people. This creates many opportunities for partnerships between humane organizations, human services organizations and governmental agencies as well as local veterinarians.

  • Three things organizations can do now to improve access-to-care are:
    • Create and provide a pet resource guide to help people find affordable care options, animal-food pantries, pet-friendly housing, etc.

    • Offer low-cost vaccines because it helps people find housing. That’s because proof of vaccinations is required by many boarding facilities, landlords, and low-income government housing.

    • Start a veterinary medical fund where donations are used to help people cover at least some of the costs needed to help care for their pet




Recorded July 30, 2020.

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