By Laura Saunders August 19, 2021
As a senior living on a fixed income, you know how challenging unexpected expenses can be. And few experiences are as stressful and heart-wrenching as a vet visit that ends with news that your pet needs an expensive, life-saving procedure or treatment.
In such a scenario, many seniors will not hesitate to “give an arm and a leg” to save their furry, feathered, or scaly friends. If they have to forego groceries for themselves or even heating for their home in order to pay that vet bill, they’ll do it.
Fortunately, for seniors in Ontario, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Thanks to the profession itself, seniors in the province are eligible to receive subsidized veterinary services for their ailing pets. (That’s right, this financial support to help seniors to care for their pets is not a government subsidy, but is available courtesy of Ontario’s vets.)
The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) is an organization that represents some 4,400 vets in the province.
They were well aware that many low-income clients often faced a terrible dilemma when told their beloved pet needs a critical procedure or treatment that’s simply beyond their means.
“This is such a lonely and devastating position to be in – to forego non-elective treatment, or, in some cases, to euthanize,” OVMA says. “We started the Farley Foundation because we believe there must be a third option: to get help. Thanks to our generous donors, pets are getting the care they need and their owners receive a gift more precious than words.”
Since it was established in 2002, the Farley Foundation has disbursed more than $5 million to help more than 11,500 pets and pet owners in need.
- 6,646 dogs
- 4,498 cats
- 44 birds
- 33 rabbits
- 22 rats
- 15 guinea pigs
- 2 bearded dragons
- a turtle
- a horse
- a snake
- a Chinese waterdragon, and
- a savannah monitor.
The Farley Foundation assists a range of low-income clients for whom veterinary care for their pets poses a financial burden that they can barely meet.
Seniors receiving the Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) as well as those receiving the Canada Pension Plan Disability Payment (CPP Disability) are eligible for this financial support from Ontario’s vets.
When a senior’s application is approved, the Farley Foundation will subsidize the cost of non-elective veterinary care for a sick or injured pet such as surgery (including some dental surgery), hospitalization, and diagnostics.
However, routine exams, vaccinations, food (including prescription diets), routine spays/neuters and general prophylactic dental care are not eligible for coverage.
So how can seniors receive subsidized veterinary care for their pets in Ontario?
You need to let your vet know of your predicament and discuss the possibility of applying to the Farley Foundation for assistance.
It will then be up to your vet to submit the application for consideration. (The Farley Foundation doesn’t deal directly with pet owners.)
Help with a major expense is available only to Ontario seniors who already have an established relationship with a vet.
And for seniors who don’t have a vet, the charity also has a path to getting one. Through their Pets to Vets funding, the Foundation will subsidize the cost of an initial exam and needed core vaccinations for the senior’s pet.
To learn more about the Farley Foundation, speak to a local vet or visit the charity’s website.