So far this year we've rehomed three dogs, twenty-four cats and six miscellaneous "small furries".
We've provided 801 low-cost treatments for dogs, 272 for cats, 35 rabbits and 12 "small furries" and micro-chipped 55 dogs, 43 cats and 2 rabbits.
Visits to our clinic are slightly down compared with 2012 and it's concerning that some people may be putting off getting vaccinations and treatments for minor ailments as a result of the economic situation.
This is a particular worry because visiting our clinic and being registered gives an individual animal access to the Vet School's out of hours service for the following two years (after which they need to be registered again by attending the clinic). I can't stress enough how important this is because emergencies by their very nature are likely to be much more costly to treat than the run-of-the-mill things. Not being registered might cost an animal their life because we cannot pay £1000+ to enable them to be treated at the commercial 24 hour vet if their owner has no money.
Some things can be dealt with by first aid and pain relief to tide the animal over until the next clinic session, but there are many acute conditions which cannot wait for treatment. Just two weeks ago I was phoned late at night about a mastiff with gastric dilation (GDV commonly referred to as "bloat"). Although I managed to get the dog seen by a vet she was probably put to sleep because her owner had no funds to pay for the operation she needed. If she'd been registered by attending our clinic she would at least have had a chance.
I'm afraid the only solution is a combination of publicity to drum into owners that they must get their pets registered instead of putting their heads in the sand, and fundraise, fundraise, fundraise so that we can subsidise the clinic enough to make it more attractive to owners whose finances are teetering on a knife edge.