Barriers and Lack of Access to Veterinary Care in Canada 2022




accessible veterinary care, access to care, barriers to care, non-medical pet care, online survey, nationwide, Canada


Introduction: Despite concerns about access to veterinary care in Canada, there are no previously published national survey data. The study aimed to estimate the prevalence of barriers to veterinary care faced by Canadian dog and cat owners, and to identify associated factors.

Methods: This was a national online survey conducted in mid-2022, the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was nationally representative of English and French-speaking Canadian adults as regards region, age, and sex.

Results: Eighteen per cent of the respondents (440/2,500) could not access wanted or needed preventative veterinary care in the past 12 months; 12% (305/2,500) could not access sick care; and 8% (195/2,500) could not access emergency care. The most frequent barriers were the inability to afford care (preventative – 124/440, 28% of those who were unable to access care; sick – 75/305, 25%; emergency – 34/195, 17%); and the inability to obtain an appointment (preventative – 95/440, 22% of those who were unable to access care; sick – 80/305, 26%; emergency – 47/195, 24%). Twenty-one per cent (522/2,500) could not access other pet needs, most frequently pet food (43% of those who lacked access); grooming (34%); and training (28%). Recent immigrants (<5 years) and young people (18–34 years old) were more likely to report barriers. Affordability and appointment availability were the two most frequently occurring barriers.

Conclusions: This survey identified a large number of pet owners who faced barriers to veterinary care. There is a need for industry leaders, educators and regulators to help support initiatives to expand access to care.


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How to Cite

Jacobson, L. S., Janke, K. J., Probyn-Smith, K., & Stiefelmeyer, K. (2024). Barriers and Lack of Access to Veterinary Care in Canada 2022. Journal of Shelter Medicine and Community Animal Health, 3(1).



Original Research Article

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