f you’re concerned about paying for your pet’s healthcare bills, or have an expensive procedure coming up, you may want to consider asking someone to buy you a Vet Voucher. This innovative scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, was launched by horse enthusiast, Tammie O’Leary in 2015. She developed the concept in response to concerns that some pet parents, whilst wanting to provide the best care for their pets, could not necessarily afford to commit to ongoing, often preventative, vet treatment for anything from vaccinations to dealing with fleas, worming regimes and tick protection.
Having worked for pharmaceutical company, MSD Animal Health, for 12 years in Practice management services, Tammie witnessed first hand how cost could be a key factor limiting compliance and commitment to animal wellbeing. “During the annual National Vaccination Month, vets and nurses would take the opportunity to discuss routine annual healthcare with pet owners. One reason clients declined further treatments was cost, not that they did not wish to do the right thing, but not everyone could afford to do so.”
One reason clients declined further treatments was cost, not that they did not wish to do the right thing, but not everyone could afford to do soTammie O’Leary, Founder of Vet Vouchers
Operating in much the same way as a digital gift service, purchasers go to the Vet Vouchers website, select from a list of vets who accept the vouchers, decide on the value that they want to buy (£10, £20, £50 or a custom value) and opt to have the voucher emailed to the recipient or printed off.
Currently, 22 veterinary clinics, largely based in Norfolk, have signed up to the scheme. However, with a potential market of some 5,000 surgeries in the UK, the concept has plenty of potential uptake with Tammie hoping for nationwide distribution. For vets to be affiliated to the programme, they need to register on the site and pay a small fee to be listed. Vet Vouchers will then assist in supporting their marketing efforts.
To further promote animal wellbeing, Vet Vouchers donates 30% of its annual net profits to small animal charities and has a donation page for people who wish to contribute towards the vet care of horses rehabilitated by World Horse Welfare.
Regular trips to the vet will help to maintain the health of your pets and could avoid preventable, costly illnesses
Earlier this year, Tammie was recognised as one of the tech industry’s leading Digital Mavericks by marketing journal Campaign. Despite not being a digital native herself, she was credited with disrupting the status quo by “launching and running an online venture” which meets a well-recognised need not only in the UK but also internationally. Indeed, Tammie has been approached by vets in the US and Australia as to whether she can take the scheme internationally.
With vet bills typically costing £300 (Money Supermarket), but often more, depending on the procedure or treatment needed, many owners struggle to pay for treatment of an injured or sick pet. The situation is made worse with some 70% of pet owners not being insured (Association of British Insurers). As responsible pet parents, we welcome any initiatives which help to provide the best possible care for our furry companions.