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Survey of Pet Owners Shows Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic on Veterinary Care

Between September 28 and October 9, 2020, a survey of 3,258 pet owners was commissioned by the global animal health association, HealthforAnimals, and global healthcare communications consultancy Pegasus, an Ashfield company, part of UDG Healthcare PLC.

The survey was conducted by Censuswide, a global survey provider. Participants from four countries took part, including Brazil (1,015), the US (1,010) France (625), and the UK (608). The pet owners were divided evenly (50:50) between dog and cat owners.

The results showed that the Covid-19 pandemic is leading to delayed or missed care for pets in many countries, which is causing some veterinarians to worry that pet health may suffer as a result.

However, veterinarians are working to counter this by adopting robust Covid-19 safety precautions in their clinic and significantly increasing the availability of telemedicine for their clients.

Pet owners are reacting positively to these changes, as three out of four pet owners who have had a digital or remote consultation with their veterinarian said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the service. 

View a summary of the findings below or download the English language survey materials:

Materials are also available in Portuguese and French:

Overview of Survey Results

A survey of 3258 pet owners across the US, UK, France and Brazil found….

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted health care for pets.

  • More than a quarter of pet owners (27%) delayed or avoided contacting their veterinary practice since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • More than 1 in 10 pets (13%) missed essential, routine treatments like vaccines, and flea, tick or worm treatments.
  • Pet owners cited concerns around exposure beyond social bubbles and non-essential activities for avoiding veterinary practices.

76% of pet owners were able to list at least one safety measure adopted by their veterinary practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Social distancing, PPE and only allowing one person to accompany pets to appointments, were among the most common precautions.
  • Only 1% of pet owners said their veterinary clinic had not adopted new safety measures in response to Covid-19.

Telemedicine tools were widely adopted and pet owners were satisfied with results

  • Almost half (47%) of pet owners stated their veterinarian offered digital/remote consultations, up from 20 per cent prior to the pandemic.
  • 75% of pet owners who has a consultation with their veterinarian using remote or digital tools were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the overall consultation.
  • Almost two-thirds (60%) of all pet owners said they are willing to pay for veterinary advice/consultation through these services and 26% said they would consider whether a practice offered digital/remote consultations when registering with a new veterinarian.

Most pet owners had no problem accessing animal medicines

  • 65% of pet owners said the pandemic did not make it harder to access medicines nor did they need to provide a different medicine than their pet is used to.
  • For pet owners who had difficulty, the top issues were veterinary practice and/or pharmacist was not open, shipping times were delayed, or owner was unable to collect the medicine due to social distancing restrictions/personal safety practices.
  • Less than 5% of pet owners reported that their veterinary practice and/or pharmacist did not have their pet’s medicine in stock.

National Survey Results