Vets Now has used its £200,000 Angel Fund allowance over the festive period to help critically-ill pets who might otherwise have been put to sleep.
The fund is the biggest of its kind in the profession, and was launched last year to help vets provide emergency care to animals whose owners couldn’t afford their treatment costs. One of the vets to use the fund was Sophie Day, principal vet in Salisbury, who chose to spend part of her £1000 allowance on treating a Labrador after he’d impaled himself on a railing.
Day said: “In this case, I was concerned that some fairly extensive soft tissue surgery, or even multiple surgeries, might be needed. But the Lab’s owners confided that they’d struggle to afford this level of treatment. We discussed amputation or even euthanasia and they were understandably upset about the whole situation.
“In the end, they agreed that we could sedate the dog so we could properly assess the extent of the damage. Under anaesthetic, I was amazed to see that somehow the railing had avoided all of the important structures in the leg and groin. What a lucky dog. There was still a lot of work to be done to close the wounds so I felt this would be the perfect case for the Angel Fund so that wound construction could be attempted.
She added: “I can’t express how grateful I am that the Angel Fund exists. In this case, the dog had an unforeseen accident, which occurred just before Christmas, meaning that finances were already stretched. It feels so nice to have saved a dog’s life and helped a loving owner at the same time.”
All of Vets Now’s vets have been allocated an allowance from the Angel Fund, however it is at the vet’s discretion as to how they spend their £1000, as long as the pets they choose to treat have a good chance of recovery. Vet nurses and other clinic staff are encouraged to nominate suitable cases for treatment.
As well as benefiting sick pets, it’s hoped the scheme will help combat compassion fatigue, which often affects people in caring roles and can lead to stress and burnout. Since its launch last April, more than fifty pets have benefited.
Laura Playforth, head of veterinary standards at Vets Now, said: “The Angel Fund allows our clinical staff to do exactly what they entered the profession for, which is save lives. This is regardless of whether they’re treating a stray who has been brought in by a worried member of the public or a pet whose owners are simply struggling to make ends meet.
“This means so much to them, the pets they see and their owners. It’s particularly poignant that it was used to save lives over Christmas and New Year as, at this time of year, our vets and vet nurses always put their patients before themselves and their families.”