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Use of veterinary services by Latino dog and cat owners with various degrees of English-language proficiency

Landau, Ruth E., Beck, Alan, Glickman, Larry T., Litster, Annette, Olynk Widmar, Nicole J., Moore, George E.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2016 v.248 no.6 pp. 681-689
Latinos, cats, dogs, health information, households, human resources, pet ownership, pets, surveys, vaccination, veterinarians, United States
OBJECTIVE To characterize patterns of dog and cat ownership and veterinary service use among Latino dog and cat owners with various degrees of English-language proficiency. DESIGN Cross-sectional telephone survey. SAMPLE Data from 393 Latino pet owners. PROCEDURES Telephone surveys were conducted with Latino dog and cat owners from a random sample of US households to determine the number of dogs and cats owned, factors associated with veterinary service use, and satisfaction with veterinary care. RESULTS 393 of 1,026 (38.3%) respondents were pet owners. Two hundred fifty-nine of 330 (78.5%) dog owners and 70 of 115 (60.9%) cat owners reported taking their pet to the veterinarian in the past 12 months, most commonly for vaccination or examination or because of illness. Respondents were most satisfied with veterinary care provided, least satisfied with cost, and moderately satisfied with quality of communication. English-language proficiency was not significantly associated with whether owners sought veterinary care. A large proportion of respondents who wanted to receive pet health information in Spanish described themselves as speaking English well or very well. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Although having limited proficiency in English was not associated with Latino pet owners seeking veterinary care, opportunities exist for veterinary personnel to improve communications with these clients. Personnel can assess their clients' language needs by asking each about the language in which they would prefer to receive their pet's health information.