Most Shelters Don’t Make Vet Recommendations, According To Survey

A Pethealth Inc. poll has found that almost two-thirds of shelters don’t offer veterinary recommendations.

About two-thirds of pet adoption shelters did not refer adopters to a specific veterinary clinic, according to a survey of about 10,000 new owners.

The poll of people who adopted pets from July 2011 to July 2012 was conducted by the Canadian animal wellness company Pethealth Inc.

Despite the lack of a referral, 84 percent of adopters sought post-adoption veterinary care, 60 percent of whom took the pet to a veterinarian within a week.

About 15 percent of adopters took their pet to a VCA Antech or Banfield hospital, while 6 percent went to an adjacent shelter and 79 percent traveled someplace else, such as to a private clinic.

Of the 84 percent who sought veterinary care for their new pet, 44 percent arrived for a post-adoption checkup, 19 percent for routine wellness, 14 percent for vaccination, 6 percent for respiratory illness and 13 percent for other reasons.

About half of the adopters chose the veterinary clinic because of a previous or existing relationship, while 15 percent heeded the shelter’s referral. Twenty-one percent relied on word of mouth, 14 percent based the decision on the clinic’s specialization or expertise, and 13 percent were swayed by the availability of low-cost vaccinations.

Nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) spent up to $99, while 34 percent paid $100 to $199. Eight percent spent more than $300.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (92 percent) said they received a good value for what they paid for veterinary service, and 93 percent rated the veterinary clinic experience as “positive” or “very positive.”

Nearly 90 percent of respondents took their pets to the same clinic for subsequent care. Those who chose a different clinic did so most commonly because of cost (32 percent), followed by location (30 percent) and quality of service (24 percent).

About 78 percent of respondents purchased pet medication from the veterinarian, with 8 percent making the purchase online, 7 percent from a pet specialty retailer and 7 percent from somewhere else. The most commonly purchased medication was preventive or treatment, with 74 percent of pet owners making the purchase. The purchase of prescription medication, such as for pain relief or heartworm, was done by 56 percent of owners.

Pethealth, based in Oakville, Ontario, is the publisher of the cloud-based PetPoint animal management application, which is used by more than 1,900 animal welfare organizations in the United States and Canada.

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