The Dr. John Thomas Veterinary Emergency Treatment (VET) Fund is a community resource intended to keep animals in loving families. A limited number of grants will be available to Central Pennsylvania residents who display financial need. It will be administered by Centre County PAWS. This fund has 4 main goals in mind:
- Provide a safety net for loving pet owners who have exhausted all of their financial options to provide necessary care for their cat or dog
- Avoid the surrender of beloved and otherwise well-cared for pets from loving families
- Assist local veterinarians and practice owners, who are faced with challenging situations on a regular basis
- Assist local rescues serving the Centre County area, who have stepped in to assist unwell and unclaimed animals
Click to learn more about this Fund via the following sections:
General Fund Guidelines
Rescue Organization Eligibility
How to Apply
About Dr. John Thomas
Donate to The VET Fund
Frequently Asked Questions
General Fund Guidelines
A limited number of grants are available to per month toward the non-routine and/or emergency care of dogs or cats in need of veterinary care. Individual grants are prioritized for Centre County residents and individuals referred via Allegheny Spay/Neuter Clinic. As available, grants may also be approved for counties immediately surrounding Centre County. Rescue grants are restricted to rescue groups operating primarily in Centre County. Eligibility is subject to the discretion of Centre County PAWS fund administrators and may not be available for all situations.
Ownership and responsibility for the animal remains with the Grantee at all times.
Funds are intended to be utilized heavily for treatment as opposed to diagnosis. The prognosis after surgery or treatment must be fair or better, as determined by a licensed veterinarian. The prognosis must include a predicted survival rate of 50% or better for survival beyond 6 months. Any and all follow-up care related to procedures performed using grant money is the complete responsibility of the animal’s owner unless expressly noted otherwise.
The following requirements must be met for an animal and individual owner to be approved for a grant through the VET Fund:
Rescue Organization Eligibility
The following requirements must be met for a rescue organization to be approved for a grant through the VET Fund:
- Organizations must operate primarily within Centre County and for the purposes of animal welfare.
- With the exception of Pet Recovery of Centre County, organizations must be a registered 501(c)(3) in good standing with PAWS.
- Rescue organizations that have saved or rescued an animal with extraordinary medical needs, may apply for up to $1,000 in grant money per quarter by submitting a story/application.
- Rescues go through PAWS directly to submit an application for a grant. These grants are given after an animal has been cared for and will be approved without conference with the associated veterinarian.
- Rescues are asked to submit pictures to be used for future fundraising efforts.
How To Apply
An online application must be submitted for consideration, except in cases of extreme emergency. if this is a true medical emergency, visit your local emergency veterinarian. This online application process is not intended for true emergencies. Your veterinarian may contact PAWS for assistance as appropriate.
Click here to start an application
A complete submission for a VET grant includes 3 items:
- Owner Grant Application
- A recent cost of care estimate compiled by a Centre County veterinarian office
- Vet Verification and Information Form (to be completed by PAWS with your veterinarian after owner application submission)
The process for individuals seeking a grant via the VET Fund consists of the following steps:
- Individuals seeking medical assistance for their dog or cat should complete a visit with a licensed veterinarian and receive a diagnosis and/or recommendation along with official estimate for the procedure.
- Individuals should apply for Care Credit in order to determine their eligibility for a VET Fund Grant.
- Eligible applicants must complete the online application to be considered.
- Upon receipt of application, PAWS will contact the documented veterinarian within normal operating business hours to confirm details of prognosis, treatment, and estimated costs.
- Once PAWS has made contact with the veterinarian performing the treatment, applicants will be contacted within 48 hours regarding a conditional approval or denial of application.
- Upon approval, Grantee pays 25% towards the estimated cost of treatment to the selected veterinarian. Treatment and release of grant funds are dependent upon the initial Grantee deposit.
- PAWS sends an authorization form to selected veterinarian to perform agreed upon treatment(s).
Grant Terms and Conditions
- Individual grant recipients must pay 25% toward the total estimated bill after PAWS' conditional grant approval and prior to funds being released to the veterinarian’s office.
- Actual cost of treatment may vary from the estimated cost provided from the selected veterinarian. Individual Grantee's 25% deposit is based on the initial estimate and will not be adjusted based on final cost of treatment.
- If a grant recipient fails to attend a scheduled veterinary appointment, the grant funds will be forfeited and no funds will be released to the veterinary office.
About Dr. John Thomas
Dr. John Thomas started in veterinary medicine in 1969. He was the owner and operator of Mount Nittany Veterinary Hospital until his semi-retirement in 2009, when he helped to found and worked with the Allegheny Spay/Neuter Clinic in Woodland, PA. He set the goal to help until 5,000 animals were spayed or neutered, then fully retire. Instead, he worked for 10 years, until the clinic had completed almost 50,000 spays and neuters. Dr. Thomas was a brilliant veterinarian, mentor to many, and well known for his work ethic and compassion for animals.
During his 50 years in practice, Dr. Thomas was dedicated to ensuring as many animals as possible received affordable, necessary vet care. Through Dr. Metzger’s and your generosity, this fund can ensure that his legacy of service continues.
Donate to the VET Fund
To contribute to the Dr. John Thomas VET Fund, click here and note VET Fund in the “Special Instructions.”
Frequently Asked Questions
My pet needs to see a vet now. How quickly can you help?
If you are seeking assistance with a true medical emergency, please speak directly to your veterinarian. The online application process is not intended for true emergencies. For non-emergency issues, a veterinary estimate is required to be considered for a grant, so your pet must have recently seen a veterinarian. You must be a client in good-standing with your veterinarian in order to apply.
How much does PAWS offer in assistance?
A limited number of grants toward the non-routine and/or urgent care of dogs or cats in need of veterinary care are available to residents of Centre and immediately surrounding counties per month. Grant recipients must pay 25% toward the total estimated bill before full PAWS grant approval will be sent. Priority is given to Centre County applicants, or those referred via Allegheny Spay/Neuter Clinic. Grants are made available based on the discretion of fund administrators and availability of funds.
Is this a loan?
This is considered a grant rather than a loan. Grant recipients must put 25% toward the total estimated bill before PAWS grant approval funds will be sent to their veterinarian’s office.
What humans qualify for assistance?
Owners must meet several criteria in order for their application to be approved and be eligible for a grant through the VET Fund. Owners must have exhausted their financial options, including applying for Care Credit and have been declined or approved for under $1,000. For a complete list of individual eligibility, please refer to the Eligibility section above.
What pets qualify for assistance?
Funds are intended to be utilized heavily for treatment of the animal as opposed to diagnosis. The prognosis after surgery or treatment must be fair or better, as determined in the sole and absolute discretion of a licensed veterinarian. The prognosis must include a predicted survival rate of 50% or better for survival beyond 6 months. For a complete list of requirements for an animal to be eligible for assistance, please refer to the Eligibility section above.
How often can I apply for assistance?
One request per household will generally be considered per calendar year.
What if my pet needs follow-up care?
Any and all follow-up care related to procedures performed using grant money is the complete responsibility of the animal’s owner unless expressly noted otherwise when funds are approved.
What are some examples of commonly approved procedures?
- Accidents resulting in fractures or trauma
- Foreign body removal
- Perineal Urethrostomy
- Full mouth extractions and/or non-routine dental work
- Essential skin tumor removal
- Non-”heroic” essential orthopedic surgery
- Basic diagnostics required to accompany any of the above procedures
What are some examples of procedures that are not approved?
- Routine care (heartworm testing, vaccinations, deworming)
- Flea or parasite treatment
- Extended hospitalization and care for unstable animals with uncertain prognosis (parvo treatment, endocrine emergency)
- Elective procedures (tail docking, ear cropping, declawing)
- Non-essential mass removal
- “Heroics” or experimental procedures
- Tumor biopsies and other non-essential diagnostics
What does the "emphasis on essential basic care" mean? Can you provide some examples?
Grant administrators are charged to act as a prudent person would in approval of funds with an emphasis on essential, basic care, to maximize fund effectiveness. For example, a grant for a leg amputation and pre-operative bloodwork ($2,000, straightforward recovery) may be made available versus a grant for intensive orthopedic surgery ($4-7,000 with lengthy recovery); eye enucleation ($1,200, straightforward recovery) versus serum eye drops ($900 without guaranteed recovery, can require numerous medication changes and vet visits).
What if my animal is not spayed/neutered at the time of care?
If the animal is not spayed or neutered, it will be done at the time of surgery/care if the veterinarian determines that it will not jeopardize the health of the animal. If it cannot be done at the time of surgery/care, the owner must agree to have the pet sterilized within a set time frame agreed upon by PAWS and the animal's veterinarian. Spay/neuter surgery is completed at no cost to the Grantee.
I didn't know about this program, but would have qualified. Will you reimburse me?
Funds are not available for procedures or treatments that have already been performed. The VET Fund does not assist with already incurred vet bills.
What if I don’t have a veterinarian?
To be eligible for a grant, you must be in good standing with your veterinarian, who can provide detailed information and an estimate of costs for any medical treatment your cat or dog needs.