Free vet care for Ukraine war refugees’ animals

Free vet care for Ukraine war refugees’ animals

Refugees who have fled the war in Ukraine can now get free veterinary treatment for their pets across 38 European countries, thanks to a coordinated project led by an international charity.

Thanks to the Humane Society International (HSI) and its partners people can have their treatment costs covered for up to five dogs, cats, horses or other animals .

The Vets For Ukrainian Pets initiative will provide up to £209 per pet for acute care and medication, rabies and other vaccinations, as well as microchipping and medical examination required for safe passage through the EU.

The fund was established with support from Mars Incorporated, in collaboration with Federation of Veterinarians in Europe (FVE) and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA).

Reimbursements for participating veterinarians will be available wherever FECAVA has members, including in the UK, Germany, Italy, Romania and Poland, as well as Ukraine.

Executive director of HSI Europe Ruud Tombrock said: “In Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since [the Second World War], millions of Ukrainians have had to take the decision to leave their country and flee the war. Along with a few possessions, many are also taking their pet animals, which they cherish as family members.

“The trauma of war, as well as the stress of the evacuation journey, can make animals vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and so HSI’s Vets For Ukrainian Pets programme aims to eliminate barriers to accessing veterinary care for the pets of refugees.

“It will provide a much-needed safety net for those families fleeing with their beloved pets, so that at no point they feel compelled to leave their pets behind due to concerns about being able to care for them.”

Days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Commission recommended that member states ease requirements for the entry of pets from Ukraine. At least 13 EU member states have since temporarily lifted or modified their import restrictions on companion animals, including rabies requirements.