Connecting Human Health with Vet Care with Dr. Michael Blackwell

02 Dec 2022 • 63 min • EN
63 min
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Too many people face a cold reality when their dog gets sick: they want to give vet care, but simply cannot afford it. Ways to cope vary, including hoping and wishing the problem will disappear on its own, reducing pain and other medication use to “make them last,” and even euthanizing a dog who might recover with proper care. It’s devastating for the family members and the veterinarians and their staff who must help them make these terrible choices. When money is the issue, and money is not there, no question has an easy answer. Our guest today is Dr. Michael Blackwell, the founder of AlignCare Health. His organization is a national, community-funded One Health interprofessional system that helps families with limited means get access to veterinary care. In other words, he helps keep families together, regardless of species. Dr. Michael Blackwell’s received his calling to help after hearing about a veteran whose dog was put to sleep because he could not afford his treatments. What was the problem? A police officer had shot his dog (unjustly), and the resulting injuries required extensive and expensive procedures. The veteran’s utter loss and devastating pain “lit a fire” in Dr. Blackwell’s soul. That’s when the high-ranking government official and educator decided to start breaking down economic barriers that prevent pets and their families from getting the care they need. Dr. Blackwell joins us for an in-depth, moving discussion about how our pet’s care influences our own health and healthcare, and why affordable veterinary care is critical to our health as a species and citizens. Episode Links Access to Veterinary Care-Barriers, Current Practices, and Public Policy A project of the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition, Dec 2018 AlignCare Health official website This episode is sponsored in part by EverPup and BarkBox. Chapters 0:00 Introduction 2:26 Start of Interview 4:09 The Event that Changed Everything 6:38 1 in 4 Families Lack the Ability to Pay for Vet Care 8:58 Phycological Benefits of Having a Pet 11:32 Economic Barriers to Vet Care 13:05 Status of Pet Insurance 17:03 Health Benefits Associated with Pet Ownership 19:21 What is AlignCare? 22:47 AlignCare in Los Angeles 34:55 The Emotional and Financial Stress of Being a Vet 45:54 The Importance of Public Servants 50:09 First Minority Dean of a Major Vet College 54:14 Future of AlignCare 56:52 Outro About Dog Podcast Network (DPN) DPN is the first of its kind. A podcasting network as devoted to dogs, as they are to us. Our mission is simple: entertain, inspire and inform. We will improve the quality of life for dogs and the people who love them. Check out Dog Podcast Network for other dog-adjacent shows: Dog Edition: our flagship show where a global team of dog-obsessed journalists and storytellers feature news, in-depth reporting, analysis, features, and interview segments Dog Cancer Answers: which offers vetted advice from real veterinarians who answer your questions about dog cancer Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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