Purina donates $1M to AVMF’s charitable care grant program

Story and photos by Malinda Larkin

Veterinarians do what they can to provide the best patient care possible, but some factors they cannot control. This includes the client’s ability to pay for diagnostics or treatment. In those cases, difficult choices are often made, but now one more option exists to help in these situations.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets announced the launch of its Pro Plan Veterinary Support Mission on January 15 at the 2024 Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) in Orlando, Florida. Through this new initiative, Purina will donate $1 million to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Reaching Every Animal with Charitable Healthcare (REACH) Animal Care Program.

The REACH program was created by the AVMF to increase assistance to the most vulnerable communities and to bring the foundation’s “Helping Veterinarians Help Animals” motto to life. The program, which also received an additional $200,000 in funding from Pro Plan Veterinary Diets in 2023, has grown since its inception in 2022 and now has the resources to assist thousands of animals each year.

Danielle Johnson (left), AVMF executive director and Dr. Jason Gagné (right), Purina's director of veterinary communications speaking at AVMA Convention 2023
Danielle Johnson, executive director of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), and Dr. Jason Gagné, Purina's director of veterinary communications, speaking at AVMA Convention 2023 about Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets' support of the Foundation's Reaching Every Animal with Charitable Healthcare (REACH) Animal Care Program.

REACH aims to break down barriers to access to immediate veterinary care by increasing assistance and access to the most vulnerable communities. Any AVMA member can request up to $2,000 a year in reimbursement for medical expenses incurred by qualifying clients.

Dr. Lori Teller, chair of the AVMF board of directors, spoke at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, held January 5-7 in Chicago, about the program.

“REACH is like no other charitable care program as it is intended specifically for the veterinary community,” Dr. Teller said, noting that it is only available to AVMA member veterinarians.

She said the Foundation is currently working on streamlining the program. It has also made changes so that participants can decide how they want to use the $2,000, whether for one case or multiple cases. Multiple AVMA members in one practice can even pool their funds to cover a single case.

Grants are provided as reimbursement for veterinary charitable care services that have already been provided. No preapproval is required.

The forthcoming 2024 AVMA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook noted that the rising cost of living is making many pet owners more sensitive to the rising cost of veterinary care.

“Those of us working in this industry know veterinarians have the power to affect many lives, from those of our patients, to patients’ families, to our veterinary colleagues who share our passion,” said Dr. Callie Harris, senior veterinary communications manager for Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, in a press release. “At the same time, we realize practitioners face many stressors, from navigating staffing shortages to struggling with student debt load to providing quality care when our clients face their own financial challenges."

Through the Pro Plan Veterinary Support Mission, Dr. Harris noted, the company has committed to making a meaningful difference by supporting organizations that help veterinarians navigate these difficulties, allowing them to answer their call to care.

A version of this story appears in the March 2024 print issue of JAVMA