Our mission statement

To care for the pets of people in need by providing free veterinary services to their sick and injured animals and promoting responsible pet ownership

PDSA – turning breaking hearts into beating hearts

At PDSA, saving, protecting and healing pets is what we’re all about. We are dedicated to improving pet wellbeing in three very special ways – by educating owners, preventing disease and carrying out life-saving operations.

Pets are part of the family. Our four-legged friends give unconditional love and are often a person’s only companion. They don’t deserve to suffer through economic and social hardship. They can’t help themselves. But we can – with your help.

We are the UK’s leading vet charity. Every year, the dedicated teams at our 51 Pet Hospitals and 380 plus Pet Practices work tirelessly to provide 2.7 million veterinary treatments – including 440,000 preventative treatments. This helps over 470,000 much-loved pets and brings peace of mind to 300,000 owners.

And we are a leading authority on all things concerning pet health and wellbeing: whether its leading the debate on pet obesity, conducting Britain’s biggest annual pet wellbeing survey, raising the status of animals or simply celebrating their contribution to our lives.

This is all down to our fantastic people: our devoted vets, nurses, charity shop workers, fundraisers, volunteers and support staff. And you our supporters makes our work a reality because it’s thanks to your help that we can keep pets healthy and happy. We couldn’t do it without you.

Our History

Our history

PDSA has been a lifeline for sick and injured pets since 1917. In that time we’ve provided a staggering 100 million free treatments to more than 20 million pets.

Our veterinary expertise, UK-wide coverage and comprehensive education programme means that we touch the lives of more pets and their owners than any other animal welfare organisation. And we owe it all to one truly inspirational lady: PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin.

Maria Dickin was born in London in 1870. The daughter of a Free Church minister, she was an independent-minded young woman, never afraid to voice her beliefs.

When she went to visit the the poor in the East End of London, she was horrified by the terrible poverty she witnessed – especially the sight of their sick and injured pets who were in desperate need of veterinary care. Dogs and cats had no choice but to scavenge from the gutters, many in pain and suffering – raw with mange and often dragging their broken limbs, because their owners simply couldn’t afford to pay for treatment.

So on Saturday 17 November 1917, during the First World War, Maria opened The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals of the Poor, providing a free service for pets in need in a Whitechapel basement.

There was so much demand that she soon needed larger premises and established a fleet of mobile dispensaries to travel around the country.

Maria devoted her life to improving the welfare of the pets she loved –and her determination, enthusiasm and pioneering spirit define PDSA to this day.

We’re proud to continue her work, ensuring that today and in the years to come, people who, through no fault of their own, can’t afford to pay for veterinary care for their beloved pets still have somewhere to go for help and free treatment.

PDSA Hospital and van in 1928
PDSA Hospital and van in 1928
Our mission, priorities and values

Our mission

To care for the pets of people in need by providing free veterinary services to their sick and injured animals and promoting responsible pet ownership.

Our priorities

The fundamental long-term priorities are:

  • Maintenance
    of existing PDSA Pet Services on a stable, sustainable and long-term basis.
  • Expansion
    of Pet Services in line with a clear and controlled Business Plan as widely as funds and circumstances permit.
  • Encouragement
    of funding, by raising awareness and developing an understanding of our work.
  • Delivery
    of pet health initiatives.

Our values:

  • Head and Heart – Expertise with understanding
    At PDSA, we combine expertise with understanding to help deliver a happier and healthier future for pets and their owners.
  • Empowering through unity – Better together
    We can achieve more if we work in partnership with everyone who touches the life of a pet. Working together, PDSA, owners, supporters and the public can all have a positive impact on pets’ health and happiness.
  • Passion with Purpose – Driven in our dedication
    We can all make a difference in creating a world where no pet suffers. We must improve and deliver more today than yesterday, making every pound deliver even more benefit. Our passion and dedication drive us to continually achieve more.
Our PDSA Pet Hospitals

Our PDSA Pet Hospitals

Our vets and nurses are ready to deal with everything from lifesaving surgery to vaccinations. It all happens across our network of 51 Pet Hospitals and over 380 Pet Practices around the UK. Here are our vital statistics:

  • We employ 320 veterinary surgeons and 680 nursing team members
  • We treat 470,000 pets every year 
  • We provide 2.7 million veterinary treatments at PDSA Pet Hospitals
  • 440,000 preventative treatments like vaccinations, neutering and microchipping.

Eligible customers

We help pets whose owners receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit who live within the catchment area of a PDSA Pet Hospital or PDSA Pet Practice. We’d love to help everyone, but as a charity our funds are limited, so you do have to be eligible for your pet to receive free treatment. But whether you are eligible or not, we never turn away a sick or injured pet in an emergency. And our fantastic website contains a wealth of knowledge for all pet owners about keeping your pet healthy and happy.

Are you eligible? Find out now online

Our vet  teams

All of our PDSA Pet Hospitals provide professional care from highly qualified vets  and nurses, plus dedicated support staff, like the receptionists you see when you arrive. 

PDSA Pet Practices are private vets who work with us to provide treatments to the pets of eligible owners who don’t live near one of our own hospitals. If you’re going to see one, do register with us before getting an appointment – otherwise you’ll be charged just like their other customers.

Help for dogs, cats, budgies and ‘small furries’

We can help all the most popular types of pet – dogs, cats, budgies, rabbits and other ‘small furries’ like guinea pigs, hamsters and even chinchillas. Sorry, but we don’t cover insects, reptiles or farm animals, so if Sid the Snake is looking under the weather, you’ll need to take him to a specialist vet instead.

Help for pedigree pets

We only treat one pedigree animal per owner. It’s because pedigrees often have breed-related health problems  resulting in very  expensive treatment which means lots of other pets could miss out. A mischievous moggy or marvellous mutt is the best bet for a pet that won’t cost a small fortune to look after.