New Welfare Clinic Opened To Help Pet Owners Struggling With Cost Of Living

RSPCA Suffolk Central branch teams up with Cedarwood Vets to offer discounted veterinary care.

The RSPCA Suffolk Central Branch has teamed up with Cedarwood Vets to offer support for pet owners on low incomes who are struggling due to the cost of living crisis. 

The RSPCA branch – which also runs Martlesham Animal Centre – has opened a new clinic at Cedarwood Vets, in Stowmarket, due to soaring demand at its welfare clinic in Ipswich.

The clinic will support those on low incomes or in receipt of benefits with veterinary care with the aim of helping struggling families take care of their pets. 

It comes after the RSPCA’s Animal Kindness Index – based on a YouGov survey* looking at the nation’s attitude towards animals – found that the rising cost of living and the cost of pet ownership is a big concern for people across the UK.

The survey found 78% of pet owners said they think the cost of living will impact their animals, 68% expressed concern that the cost of care was increasing, and 19% were worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets. In the East, 71% of people said that the cost of looking after their pet had become more expensive over the last 12 months while 30% said they were worried about being able to afford to properly care for their pet and 21% said they were worried about the cost of feeding their pets.

The new clinic will include reduced price neutering, consultations and medications, flea and worm treatments, and vaccinations for kittens and puppies. There may also be help with the costs associated with further medical treatment; such as operations.

RSPCA Suffolk Central branch manager Kim Puttock said: “We know first-hand how important it is to provide access to welfare clinics and how they can help support the pets of those on low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet; especially as the cost of living rises.

“We want to be able to help as many animals across Suffolk as possible and pet owners who need the support, financially or otherwise, to keep their animals healthy and well. The RSPCA’s aim is to improve animal welfare and if we can do this while also keeping a pet with their loving family, then we’ll do what we can!

“Having this clinic open in the Stowmarket area means that we can help more people and pets in a new area, that perhaps we wouldn’t reach otherwise.

“Our Ipswich Welfare Clinic has been open since 1962, every Tuesday and Friday, and has supported hundreds of animals and their owners from the local community over the years.”

The welfare clinic in Ipswich has seen attendance rise by approximately 20% and they are getting more sign-ups every week. The clinic treats around 170-190 animals a month. 

Clinic manager Rebecca Moll said: “We’re treating around 170-190 animals a month and we ask owners to make a donation to contribute towards the consultation and medication fees but it’s noticeable that less people have the funds to pay this. 

“The lockdown pet boom really hasn’t helped; unfortunately many people just don’t realise how expensive pets can be, especially if they’ve come from poor breeders and are suffering with inherent breed problems like back issues or breathing complications.”

Kim added: “It is fantastic to be working with Cedarwood; an established, friendly and caring veterinary practice that is keen to replicate the welfare support that we already offer in Ipswich.”

The welfare clinic at Cedarwood will operate every Wednesday, by appointment only, and is specifically aimed at people who are on low income or in receipt of benefits and are seeking support to care for their animals.

Cedarwood’s practice manager Jo Payne said: “We are a small animal practice, with free onsite parking. Our dedicated friendly team is always happy to help and provide the best of care for your pet, as they are family too.

“Being based in the small market town of Stowmarket and working with the local RSPCA is a ‘win, win’ situation for all, as it helps us both provide the services and care the animals need.”

For more information about the service or to make an appointment, contact the RSPCA Suffolk Central Welfare Team on welfare@rspca-suffolkcentral.org.uk or 0300 330 1406; they can advise and authorise appointments at Cedarwood Vets.

To help the RSPCA Suffolk Central branch continue its important work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals across Suffolk and providing access to discounted veterinary care, please donate on JustGiving.

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