PDSA has launched an urgent appeal for donations so it can continue to care for pets in need during the coronavirus crisis.
However, even during a pandemic, pets still get sick or injured and need life-saving care and the charity has revealed it is facing a funding crisis, seeing their income fall by £3 million a month.
Since lockdown began, the charity which provides free and reduced cost-free treatment to the pets of owners in need, has completed 130,000 digital consultations for poorly pets, taken 6,300 essential x-rays and carried out nearly 3,400 emergency pet operations nationwide.
As a charity that supports people in need the looming poverty crisis will have an additional long-term impact on its services.
In the first two weeks of the pandemic, Universal Credit (UC) claimants increased ten-fold with nearly a million applications made (there are normally around 100,000 applicants for the benefit in any given two-week period).
For every one million Universal Credit applicants, PDSA anticipates an increase of 40,000 more pet owners will turn to them for support for more than 50,000 pets in need.
PDSA’s Director of Veterinary Services, Richard Hooker, said: “Our incredible veterinary teams are some of the many unsung heroes of the pandemic. They have adapted quickly to the ever-changing situation and have continued to work tirelessly with our Pet Hospitals, and from home, to safely ensure that pets still get the treatment and care they desperately need.
“For the last century we have provided a lifeline of veterinary care for vulnerable pets and their owners across the UK when they have nowhere else to turn. We don’t believe pets should suffer as a result of financial hardship and we are continuing to do all that we can to both protect the wellbeing of pets in need and preserve the precious bond between pet and owner.”
PDSA Vet Hermoine Hillen, who featured on Britain’s Unsung Heroes, said: “Even during a pandemic animals still get sick and injured and I feel incredibly proud hat we can carry on working to provide life-saving care for these animals.
“By treating pets, we keep families together. For many, particularly the elderly and isolated, their pet is their only companion. We are needed now more than ever – we’re a lifeline to owners when they have nowhere else to turn.”
To support the PDSA’s urgent appeal visit https://www.pdsa.org.uk/donate/crisis-appeal