To determine the impact of a free One Health clinic with human and veterinary services on the veterinary-client relationship for underserved pet owners. A secondary aim was to understand the experience of veterinary students and volunteers who participated in the clinic.
78 pet owners, 55 students and 32 volunteers who attended the Delaware Humane Association One Health Clinic between December 2018 and November 2019.
Pet owners completed an anonymous questionnaire prior to and following their veterinary appointment regarding their trust in the veterinary profession, feelings of enablement and veterinarian-client concordance. Students and volunteers completed a questionnaire within 72 hours of clinic participation about their perceptions of the educational value of the clinic.
Following the One Health clinic, client trust in the veterinary profession increased significantly (t = –5.50, P < 0.001). Clients also reported high levels of enablement and veterinarian-client concordance. Students and volunteers agreed the clinic was a valuable educational experience (97.7%) and reported increased compassion, enhanced leadership, communication and teamwork skills, and an improved ability to identify social issues and think critically.
The results support the utilization of One Health clinics to improve access to veterinary care for underserved pet owners. Clients reported high levels of trust, enablement and concordance following the clinic which could have long-lasting effects on their willingness to seek veterinary care and comply with veterinarians’ recommendations. The positive experiences of students and volunteers also highlights the potential of low-cost veterinary clinics as unique educational experiences.
The past several decades have seen substantial advances in clinical veterinary medicine, including widespread specialization, access to more complex diagnostic testing and imaging methods, and increased availability of advanced treatments. However, these advances, in conjunction with the increasing costs of veterinary education, medical equipment, and general practice operations, mean that veterinary care can be financially out of reach for many pet owners.1 A recent survey2 of pet owners in the United States found that 28% had experienced a barrier to veterinary care in the previous 2 years and that the overwhelming barrier, for all types