New record program aims to improve access of care


The Veterinarian of Record Program will also improve relationships between veterinarians and animal rescues

Robert Hoetink/

Robert Hoetink/

Shelters United, a group purchasing organizations that allows animal welfare groups to purchase care products and supplies at discounted rates, announced it is developing a Veterinarian of Record Program. The first-of-its-kind program will work to increase access to care for shelter pets as well as boost relationships between animal rescues and veterinary professionals.

“Healthy veterinarian of record relationships enable animal shelters and rescues to fulfill their missions while maintaining good welfare for the animals in their care,” explained Terry Spencer, DVM, MEd, program director and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Florida, in an organizational release.1

“Anecdotally, we frequently hear shelters and rescues complain that their local veterinarians do not understand their needs. We also commonly hear veterinarians complain that shelter and rescue leadership does not understand their concerns about how these relationships function. This study was the first formal attempt to explore these interactions so we could better understand what is leading to these frustrations between the partners,” she continued.

According to the release, shelters rely heavily on a veterinarian of record (VOR) to provide care for pets in shelters waiting to be adopted as well as purchase prescription medications. At this point in time, there is no current VOR model to help the rescue organizations and veterinary professionals work together in a way that is productive and sustainable.

“The Veterinarian of Record Toolkit will make an impact to the many rescues and shelters that struggle to find veterinary services for the pets in their care,” said Robyn Jaynes, DVM, director of veterinary affairs at PetSmart Charities.1 “The veterinary shortage experienced by shelters and rescues is partly due to many veterinary practitioners lacking familiarity working in shelter medicine. We’re proud to support this collaboration between Shelters United and the University of Florida to foster these mutually beneficial relationships. Moving forward, veterinarians will be better equipped to take on the rewarding work of animal welfare.”

The completion of the program will include a Veterinarian of Record Toolkit, an online education course and a state-by-state- resource directory. The toolkit was also put together with funding from PetSmart Charities.


First-of-its-kind veterinarian of record program will improve access to care. News release. Shelters United. May 2, 2024. Accessed May 2, 2024.

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