S.F. Aid For Animals Will Help Local Pets Needing Urgent Veterinary Care

November 2011

The cost of veterinary care, like the cost of human medical care, has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Add to that current economic conditions, and many pet owners are faced with extremely difficult decisions regarding the future of their pets when they are unable to pay for their animals’ immediate medical needs. In 2009, members of San Francisco animal welfare organizations and not-for-profit veterinary hospitals documented an increasing demand for financial aid for veterinary services in the community. Sadly, they had noticed that significantly more San Franciscans had been forced to choose between euthanizing their pets or surrendering them to the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control because they could not afford essential veterinary care.

Veterinarians understand that pets are treasured family members and see firsthand how difficult it is when a beloved animal becomes ill and there is no financial safety net. Thus, the San Francisco Veterinary Medical Association formed the San Francisco Aid for Animals charitable fund to help address this problem by providing grants-in-aid to assist those companion animals whose owners cannot afford urgent and often lifesaving veterinary medical care. The charitable organization has a fundraising goal of $60,000. Once the initial fundraising has been met, funds will be made available to clients of veterinarians who belong to the San Francisco Veterinary Medical Association.

San Francisco area pet owners will be able to seek care and apply for assistance directly through their own veterinarians. The amount of each grant will be based on the medical care needed and funds available. The target date to begin granting assistance is July 1, 2012.

The S.F. Aid for Animals fund has established a set of criteria that allows participating veterinarians to determine whether a client is eligible to benefit from the fund. Criteria include financial need and a reasonable expectation that the pet’s medical condition is curable with enough supportive care. Examples include:

• Animals with broken bones: If the owner cannot afford the full amount of the surgery, this grant will make the difference between a “Yes, I will go forward with the surgery” or “I can’t afford it, so I may have to euthanize him because we don’t want him/her to suffer.”

• Male cats that get a blocked urethra: This is usually a curable condition. A donation may make all the difference in whether a client is able to proceed with treatment. Not treating affected animals will usually result in death or euthanasia.

• A young puppy with parvovirus: This is an all too common problem. The potentially fatal illness is often curable. A grant will make a lifesaving difference for many of these puppies.

• There are many other medical conditions such as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, hepatic lipidosis, pancreatitis, abscesses, flea anemia, acute asthmatic flare-ups, and intestinal foreign bodies. All of these conditions could be successfully treated with financial resources and good veterinary care. To date, $15,000 has been raised since the fund was launched in April 2011. The project is fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives, a San Francisco organization that acts as an umbrella nonprofit corporation for charitable ventures.

If you are interested in helping S.F. Aid for Animals reach their $60,000 goal, you can donate online at www. You can also mail a check to S.F. Aid for Animals, c/o Community Initiatives, 354 Pine Street Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94104.