In 2011, 56% of all households in America owned at least one pet, and decades of research studies have shown a positive impact of pet ownership on both the mental and physical health of owners. However, between the years of 2006-2011, the cost of veterinary care in America rose 14.3 percent, making it increasingly difficult for underprivileged pet owners to provide their animals with quality veterinary care.
While we have now adopted a universal healthcare system to ensure that people have access to proper medical care, with pets it will be up to charities to expand care. For low income owners, beloved pets will end up dying or being euthanized for conditions that could have been successfully treated if the proper funds were available. The purpose of Veterinary Emergency Treatment Fund (aka VET Fund) is to provide financial support for treatment of animals in these situations.
VET Fund will focus both its fundraising and treatment efforts on the Central Virginia area. Local pet owners and veterinarians will have the ability to contact us through phone or email to request assistance. Requests for assistance will be granted by a vote of the board of directors based on demonstrated financial need and the animal’s long-term prognosis.
As a screening mechanism to ensure that only low income pet owners receive grants, financial need will be determined by requiring all owners to apply for CareCredit, a healthcare financing credit card. Only owners who are denied full coverage by CareCredit are eligible for assistance. VET Fund will require owners to pay at least $100 toward the treatment of their animal. If an owner cannot or will not agree to pay $100 toward treatment, the owner will have the option of surrendering the animal to a rescue organization, at which time VET Fund will pay the entirety of the medical bill. All payments will be made directly to the veterinary hospital providing the service.
The long-term prognosis of the animal is also a factor on which the board will base its decision to provide assistance. The ideal candidate is an animal with a treatable injury or illness that has little to no effect on its longevity. Animals with terminal illnesses or conditions with a prognosis of less than one year will not be considered for assistance.
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