International Association of
Assistance Dog Partners

Veterinary Teaching Hospital Fee Structure for Disabled Clients Partnered with Guide, Hearing and Service Dogs

Prepared by Ed Eames, Ph.D., President -- Updated July 2008 & May 2017

The following material on fee structure at veterinary teaching hospitals in the United States was obtained from interviews conducted with representatives of the 27 small animal veterinary teaching hospitals. The information has been revised and updated by Kevin Frankeberger, Ph.D., IAADP 2007 scholarship winner.

One of IAADP's fundamental missions is to help maintain the partnership between disabled person and assistance dog when the relationship is threatened by high veterinary care costs beyond the financial means of the disabled partner. As part of this mission, IAADP has become involved in a program sponsored by seven animal health care community corporations to provide financial aid in selected cases where the disabled partner is unable to meet the high cost of veterinary intervention and the proposed intervention can maintain the working quality of the canine assistant. The seven corporations financing the Veterinary Care Partnership are: Bayer Animal Health, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Nestle Purina, Nutramax Laboratories, Procter and Gamble and Royal Canin US. Bayer Animal Health, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Nestle Purina, Nutramax Laboratories, Procter and Gamble and Royal Canin US. However, IAADP is looking beyond this program as part of its Partners Support System and calls on veterinary teaching hospitals to join in the effort to maintain the health and well being of assistance dog teams.

With an unemployment rate estimated at 70% and a welfare dependency rate of more than 40%, the disabled community represents the most impoverished segment of American society. Although actual figures are not available, a reasonable assumption is the estimated 30,000 disabled individuals working with guide, hearing and service dogs reflect the general characteristics of the larger disability community. Therefore, it is essential to move toward fee structure policies at veterinary teaching hospitals that will help diminish the financial stress created by high bills.

Some IAADP members have been forced to break the bond because of their inability to pay the costs of diagnostic tests, surgery, radiology and pharmaceuticals needed to treat chronic conditions. Veterinary teaching hospitals are institutions to which many clients are referred in order to provide the most up to date and experienced specialty veterinary services. Therefore, these are the institutions to which general practitioners will refer their disabled clients when their canine assistants require specialty care. These are also the circumstances in which high bills are incurred because of intensive diagnostic procedures and treatment protocols.

Assistance dogs, in contrast with companion animals, provide a vital service to their disabled partners. They help offset the impact of the disability on the daily lives of their human partners. Guide dogs help safely guide blind people through traffic, crowds and other situations; hearing dogs help alert deaf people to unheard sounds in the environment, such as a telephone ring, smoke alarm and doorbell; service dogs help people with disabilities other than blindness or deafness by picking up dropped or requested items, pulling wheelchairs, opening doors, or providing assistance during a medical crisis etc. These working canine assistants are an essential element in maintaining the independence, safety and improved quality of life for the 30,000 Americans with disabilities who have sought this partnership. In many ways, assistance dogs symbolize the highest calling to which, in the eyes of the public, a dog can aspire.

Currently, two-thirds of the 27 VTHs have an official reduction policy in place.

The chart below contains details of existing discount policies.

Auburn University
Twenty percent discount for all services. A “certificate” of proof that animal is a service animal is required.

Colorado State University
A “companion fund” has been established. Any discounts will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Cornell University
Twenty percent discount for all services.

Iowa State University
Twenty percent discount for all services.

Kansas State University
Reduced fees are available for indigent clients. Each case is individually evaluated.

Louisiana State University
Twenty percent discount on all services.

Michigan State University
Twenty-five percent discount on all services if the client indicates financial need. A “certificate” of proof that animal is a service animal is required.

Mississippi State University
Twenty to twenty-five percent discount and capped by council. Case by case. Police dogs treated at no charge.

North Carolina State University
No policy.

Oregon State University
Twenty percent discount for assistance dogs on professional services identified in the fee schedule.

Purdue University
Assistance dogs receive a 50% reduction. Pharmaceuticals are at cost.

Texas A & M University
Twenty percent discount on all services.

Tufts University
One hundred percent discount for the registration and appointment fees; twenty percent discount on all other charges.

Tuskegee University
Discounts on a case by case basis.

University of California
No policy per assistance dogs but does have funds for indigent clients.

University of Illinois
Fifty percent discount for all services. Twenty percent discount for laboratory work.

University of Minnesota
Twenty percent reduction in the professional examination fee.

University of Missouri
Twenty-five percent discount on all charges.

University of Pennsylvania
No charge for clinic exams. Twenty-five percent discounts on all other services to include pharmaceuticals.

University of Tennessee
Thirty percent reduction on all fees.

University of Wisconsin
Twenty percent discount. A compassionate care fund is available if needed.

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Twenty percent reduction in all fees. All initial exam fees waived.

Washington State University
Twenty percent discount but only applied if bill is paid in full at time of discharge.

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