The co-author of a recent North American study into the health of the pets of people experiencing homelessness hopes to challenge the stigma that those animals are not well cared for by their owners.
"I think there has long been a discourse of saying, 'If you can't care for yourself, how can you take care of a pet?'" said Michelle Lem, founder of Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO), who conducted the study with the University of Guelph.
The charity connects people who are experiencing homelessness with health-care services by providing veterinary care to their pets.
The study also analyzed each animal's body system, which includes oral health, skin and muscle, as well as cardiovascular health, and found abnormalities reported in pets owned by those vulnerably housed, typically in oral or digestive systems, were the same conditions reported in pets that accessed private clinics.
"Where there's differences is access to care and access to preventative veterinary care, access to urgent care or chronic care.".
Murphy said pets are also a lifeline for people experiencing homelessness and a reason for individuals to care for themselves as well. .