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Access to veterinary care is critical for pet, human, and community health. However, inequities in how easily pet owners can access veterinary care may exacerbate health disparities in vulnerable populations. This research analyzed pet owners’ perceptions of access to veterinary care in order to understand how demographic characteristics and financial fragility predict perceived access to veterinary services.
This study utilized survey data (n = 750) from a larger cross-sectional survey of adults in the US conducted by the Tufts University Equity Research Group.
Survey data were collected in May and June of 2020 from a nationally representative group of pet owners via an online panel. Descriptive statistics, ANOVAs, and a sequential linear regression model were conducted in order to predict perceived access to veterinary care.
Results of a sequential linear regression model indicated that race or ethnicity, education, and financial fragility significantly predicted perceived ease of access to veterinary care (F[7,617] = 19.80; P < .001). Additionally, financial fragility was prevalent among most pet owners of almost all income brackets, highlighting the need for more research into the cost burden of veterinary care.
Future studies should focus on diverse sampling strategies that capture the experiences of minority pet owners in order to further understand issues of access in veterinary medicine.
CASE DESCRIPTION A 12-year-old mixed-breed mare (horse 1) and 6-year-old Friesian gelding (horse 2) were examined for chronic lameness associated with the stifle joint.
CLINICAL FINDINGS Lameness examination revealed effusion of the right (horse 1) or left (horse 2) femoropatellar and medial femorotibial joints and grade 3/5 (horse 1) or 4/5 (horse 2) lameness. A diagnosis of cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury with associated mineralization and avulsion (horse 1) or mineralization alone (horse 2) was facilitated in both horses with a caudomedial-craniolateral oblique radiographic view obtained 45° medial to the caudocranial line, which highlighted the origin of the ligament on the caudoaxial aspect of the lateral femoral condyle within the intercondylar fossa. These lesions were subsequently confirmed via CT.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME Arthroscopy of the medial and lateral femorotibial joints was performed for horse 1 and revealed the osseous fragment associated with the CCL, but the fragment could not be removed. Horse 2 was euthanized while anesthetized following CT owing to the poor prognosis.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Radiography is typically the first imaging modality attempted for horses with CCL injury, particularly outside the hospital setting. A 45° caudomedial-craniolateral oblique radiographic view may aid in diagnosis of CCL injury when avulsion or mineralization is present. Although this view is not commonly included in the typical radiographic series for imaging of the stifle joint in horses, it should be considered when CCL injury is suspected.