Breaking! Humane Society International Launches Life-Saving Initiative To Provide Free Veterinary Care For Pets Of Ukrainian Refugees In 38 European Countries

Beata Zawrzel/AP Images for HSI

Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war with their pets in tow will now be able to access free veterinary treatment in 38 European countries through an unprecedented program called Vets for Ukrainian Pets.

Kelly Donithan/HSI

Launched by Humane Society International (HSI) and partners, Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the veterinary care and treatment costs of up to five dogs, cats, horses, or other pets of people fleeing Ukraine. Up to 250 Euros will be available per animal, for acute care and medication, rabies and other vaccinations, as well as microchipping and medical examination required for safe passage through the EU.

Kelly Donithan/HSI

Vets for Ukrainian Pets is being fully funded by HSI, with the generous support of Mars Incorporated, in collaboration with the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe, and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA). Reimbursements for participating veterinarians will be available wherever the FECAVA has members, including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Poland, as well as Ukraine.

Beata Zawrzel/AP Images for HSI

“In Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since WWII, millions of Ukrainians have had to make the decision to leave their country and flee the war. Along with a few possessions, many are also taking their pet animals, who they cherish as family members,” Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, said in a statement. “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 program 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.”

Kelly Donithan/HSI

As previously reported by WAN, 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. However, there is no standardized policy across the EU regarding the entry of pets from Ukraine. While vaccination and microchipping of animals is being provided at some border crossings, not all animals receive such services and therefore fail to meet the national requirements for entry.

Beata Zawrzel/AP Images for HSI

 “We are grateful to start this joint project together with our sister organization the European Federation of Companion Animal Veterinary Associations and with the much-appreciated support of Humane Society International. We will offer a strong, free pet healthcare response to ensure that those arriving with their beloved pets, many that are vulnerable, receive the care and treatment they need,” stated Rens van Dobbenburgh, president of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. “This is about emergency care and long-term treatment for chronic conditions, as well as routine health checks.”

Kelly Donithan/HSI

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will run until May 21st and is open for all licensed veterinary clinics to apply throughout Europe, whether owned privately or as part of a corporate group.

Every registered practicing veterinarian in Europe can apply to become part of the program and can make up to five claims for refunding the cost of treatment for pet animals of Ukrainian refugees, HERE!

In exceptional cases, where a veterinarian has to provide care for a larger number of animals, they should contact HSI at VetsUkrainePets@hsi.org

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