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How Much is Too Much When it Comes to the Cost of Medical Care for Pets?

Posted in Our Community @ Sep 18th 2012 5:23pm - By Judy Gillespie

This week I came across a couple of online articles and blogs all on a similar topic which I shared on Facebook & which generated some interesting comments.  I thought it would also be useful to pull them all together and publish as a blog.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

The first one I came across was from The Age (Melbourne): Top Treatment for Pet Patients (14/09/2012).  The online article includes a 4 minute video ‘A day in the life of a small-animal surgeon’ where Dr Charles Kuntz discusses the type of treatments available and associated costs.   Dr Kuntz believes that some of the reasons why people are spending more money on their pets include:

  • Disposable income still available;
  • Availability of the technology available to pets; and
  • Pets have made the journey from the back garden, into the living room, into the bedroom  and in some cases, up onto the bed.

I think this last point is the telling one.  Some of the people in the article didn’t necessarily have a  spare $10,000 to spend on their pet, rather they were prepared to use their savings (for a house deposit in one instance) in order to save their pet.

One of the most interesting parts of this article is the comments section at the end.  You don’t have to read all 166 of them to see the full spectrum of the human-animal bond on display – but it’s definitely worth reading some of them!

The second article was from ‘The Telegraph’ (Sydney): Doggone veterinary outlay was worth every dollar’.  This one is more of an opinion piece on how the journalist surprised herself by spending $3000 on treatment for her sick dog.  She describes herself as now part of the ‘new doggie Australia’ and even as having a ‘city attitude’ where it’s acceptable to pay whatever is necessary to save your pet. Although I’m sure there are many of those who live in the country and have exactly the same view!

The final post was a link to a blog that was only started on the 13thSeptember 2012 by ‘Frankie the French Bulldogs’ owner after Frankie was diagnosed with a serious back condition that requires major surgery.  Frankie’s owner started the blog to keep friends informed on Frankie’s situation and it’s grown from there. 

I’ve included this one as I think it’s another side of the story.  The technology is there to help Frankie and her desperate owner would gladly pay if she could somehow find the money. It’s so sad to read how much she loves her dog and what he means to her and her frustration at not knowing where she will find the necessary money.  As was pointed out in the comments section on the Vetanswers FB Page, she never once criticises the cost of the treatment – she just wants to save her pet.

Obviously one of the answers involves Pet Insurance.  Although I think that's also another topic all of it's own. 

So what are your thoughts?  How much is too much to spend on a pet or is it not about the dollar figure but more about the quality of life for the animal?

Or do you agree with my favourite comment from a vet who posted a response on the Vetanswers Facebook Page that related to the first post:  “I love the comments!  From one extreme to the other. I think it falls into my approach that people can do whatever they choose to, as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else.  If someone wants to spend their hard earned dollars on expensive vet treatment, then that’s fine.  If someone else chooses not to, that’s fine too.”

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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