What makes us special

To care for the pets of people in need by providing free vet 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 it’s thanks to your help that we can keep so many 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 owners than any other animal welfare organisation. And we owe it all to one truly inspirational woman: 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, all 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. 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

Together we will improve the life of every pet by:

  • Preventing illness, suffering and unnecessary death of pets
  • Educating people about the welfare needs and values of pets
  • Treating sick and injured pets needing our help within communities across the UK


What we plan to achieve

To achieve our mission (above) we intend to:

  • Increase the uptake of pet health and welfare
  • Expand accessibility of our veterinary services
  • Promote the role of pets to society
  • Drive awareness and support for PDSA's work
  • Deliver exceptional service


In order to do this we have to:

  • Maximise income streams, to pay for our services
  • Inspire and enable our people, to provide and deliver these services
  • Ensure we have the right infrastructure, systems and processes to deliver these services


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.
  • Better together - Empowering through unity. 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
  • We support 300,000 pet owners throughout the UK.

Eligible pet owners

We help pets whose owners receive means-tested help with council tax (Council Tax Support / Reduction) and 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 PDSA funded treatment. But whether you are eligible or not, we never turn away a sick or injured pet in an emergency. And our website contains lots of information for 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 qualified vets and nurses, plus dedicated support staff, such as the receptionists you see when you arrive. 

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


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

We can help all of 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

Though eligible pet owners may register up to three pets with PDSA, we only treat one pedigree animal per household. It’s because pedigrees often have breed-related health problems resulting in very expensive treatment. As our charitable funds are limited, this means lots of other pets could miss out.