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Affordability, Feasibility, and Accessibility: Companion Animal Guardians with (Dis)Abilities' Access to Veterinary Medical and Behavioral Services during COVID-19

By H. Wu, R. S. Bains, A. Morris, C. Morales

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Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The research aims to explore COVID-19 health and safety protocol impacts on companion animal guardians living with (dis)abilities relating to veterinary medical and behavioral service access. The COVID-19 global public health crisis has impacted almost all international communities; however, vulnerable and marginalized groups have been disproportionately affected. Within the human-companion animal domain, COVID-19-driven societal impacts (e.g., social, health, and economic) not only boomed with new companion animal guardians, but also negatively influenced guardians' access to veterinary services. Although studies have examined guardian-related COVID-19-specific challenges, there is a paucity of concentration on vulnerable populations, such as persons with disabilities (PWDs). Responding to this research deficit, this study recruited twelve companion animal guardians to participate in semi-structured in-depth interviews, and eight (67%) of the twelve participants self-identified as PWDs. From a PWD perspective, this research reveals three pandemic-triggered primary barriers, preventing PWDs from pursuing veterinary services: (1) service affordability, (2) assistance program feasibility, and (3) veterinary service accessibility. This article argues that PWD-driven approaches could improve existing assistance and support programs to address PWDs' unique requirements, promoting a healthy human-animal bond.

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 11
Issue 8
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani11082359
Author Address School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada.Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.Vancouver Humane Society, Vancouver, BC V6P 5A2, Canada.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Companion
  2. Covid-19
  3. open access
  4. Veterinary services
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  1. open access