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BVA Live to host launch of annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report

British Veterinary Association

4 min read Partner content

‘State of the nation’s pets’ report reveals 56% of vets say more owners are struggling to afford unexpected vet bills due to cost-of-living crisis

More than half (56%) of veterinary professionals say they are seeing more clients struggling to afford unexpected veterinary bills as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new survey by a leading UK veterinary charity.

This is just one of the key insights into the health and welfare of companion animals from the 2023 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, which will launch during a special session at BVA Live 2023 in Birmingham this week (11 May).

The Report also reveals that 52% of vets say more clients are delaying bringing their pet to a vet when ill, with nearly 1 in 10 owners revealing they had delayed taking their pet to the vet because of financial concerns. As a result, vets are encouraging pet owners to speak to their vet sooner rather than later if they are struggling, as their vet practice will work closely with clients to make treatment plans tailored to individual circumstances.

PDSA Senior Vet and BVA Past President Sean Wensley will present the findings and lead the discussion in this highly anticipated session at BVA Live, titled ‘Have the last 3 years changed the face of pet wellbeing in the UK?’.

Among the major points of discussion will be the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on pets and pet owners as well as the concerning spike in canine fertility clinics, which are being run with no regulation and often no veterinary oversight.

Findings from the latest PAW Report mirror those from BVA’s recent Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which revealed that many pet owners are finding it difficult to meet the basic costs of caring for their animals. In BVA’s survey, almost all (99%) of vets said they had seen pets in the last 12 months who should have been brought to them for treatment earlier, equating to an estimated 1 in 5 pets not receiving timely treatment. These findings prompted BVA to issue advice earlier this year, urging pet owners to prioritise preventative health measures and to speak to their vet sooner rather than later in case of any concerns, so they can explore options for tailored treatment plans.  

Commenting on the report’s launch, BVA Senior Vice President Justine Shotton said:

“We’re delighted to host the launch of this vital pet wellbeing benchmark at BVA Live this week. I would encourage all veterinary colleagues attending the conference to head to the BVA Interactive Zone for the report’s launch and a discussion on the findings exploring the wellbeing of UK’s dogs, cats and rabbits.

“The PAW Report is a vital piece of research offering an invaluable snapshot of the ‘state of the nation’s’ pets. We know from BVA’s own research the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on the wellbeing of some pets, and this new PAW Report data provides vital insight from an owner’s perspective. We understand how tight finances are at the moment, but we do urge owners not to delay taking their pets to the vets. If you have concerns about cost, please speak to the practice team and your vet will work with you to find a suitable solution that fits your situation and circumstances.”

PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon Sean Wensley said:

“The rising cost of living has understandably dominated the news over the last 12 months, and the PAW Report demonstrates many of the impacts that pet owners are feeling. But it is absolutely vital that during these challenging times, we continue to monitor and report on pet welfare, and to identify and track emerging concerns. 

“Sadly, the PAW Report continues to find that many of the welfare concerns highlighted over the past 13 years remain, including the proportion of rabbits kept in unsuitable environments, behavioural concerns in dogs and the uptake of preventive healthcare in cats. Alongside this, we are seeing emerging issues such as the rise of canine fertility clinics and the importation of pets, including those with mutilations. I’m looking forward to discussing the findings with delegates at BVA Live on Thursday.”

Now in its second year, BVA Live is a unique conference and exhibition designed by CloserStill Media (organisers of the London Vet Show) and BVA, where veterinary professionals are invited to debate the latest topical issues within the profession, access exciting clinical and non-clinical CPD, and find opportunities for networking.

The 2023 PAW Report will be launched at the BVA Interactive Zone at BVA Live, NEC Birmingham, on 11 May at 12.30pm. Tickets are available online. Members of the media can register for a free press pass, or email media@bva.co.uk.

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