The Rising Cost of Pet Care – NBC 6 South Florida
It’s no secret that the cost of almost everything has gone up – unfortunately, that includes the cost of veterinary care for your pet. Whether it’s food, vaccines, surgical supplies, lab fees, anesthesia or dental cleaning, the minimum basic costs of everything your veterinarian needs to take care of your pet rose. And all of those aforementioned supplies require expensive gasoline to get to our doorsteps.
To make matters worse, the veterinary field faces a serious shortage of veterinarians and a even greater shortage of support staff. Before the onset of the Covid pandemic, the profession was characterized by an aging workforce and hospitals often struggled to fill positions. The fourfold increase in demand for our services as a result of stay-at-home orders, coupled with the health risks of working with the general public during a pandemic, has forced many veterinarians into retirement. Young workers were forced to stay home with their children during school closures, and to this day many still struggle to find reliable childcare. The burnout and mental health issues that have always plagued our profession have been exacerbated by the pandemic, leading many good people to leave the field in an act of self-survival. As a result, veterinary hospitals are paying historically high salaries in order to attract and retain talent. Add to that skyrocketing commercial rent prices in South Florida, and it all adds up to increased costs for pet hospitals and, ultimately, pet parents. Fortunately, there are ways to manage costs without compromising the well-being of our furry family members.
Pet Wellness Plans
Many veterinary facilities offer pet wellness plans. Generally speaking, wellness plans cover the costs associated with routine veterinary care. While the nature of this care often allows pet owners to plan ahead and budget accordingly, a wellness plan spreads annual costs over a year by paying a modest fee for preventive care each month. Services included in wellness plans typically include health checkups, vaccinations, blood tests, and parasite screenings. Plans can usually be tailored to your pet’s needs by adding spaying procedures, dental cleanings, or appropriate diagnostic panels for senior pets.
As the basic standard of care now includes an annual dental cleaning with x-rays, be sure to choose a wellness plan that includes these services for your pet. Since many of the conditions that shorten the lives of our pets can be traced to dental disease (think kidney failure, liver disease, and congestive heart failure), it is essential to follow the dental care to stop chronic diseases. It’s also important to choose a plan that includes unlimited vet exams. When exams are prepaid, pet owners are more likely to seek help for their pets at the first sign of trouble – before problems become more complicated and, therefore, more expensive to deal with.
Pet health insurance
Unlike wellness plans, pet health insurance covers the costs associated with injuries, illnesses, and any other mishaps that lead to unexpected visits to the vet. Pet insurance is a boon for pets with chronic illnesses or who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. Cancer treatments for pets, while very effective, can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. Orthopedic surgery, complex dental procedures, advanced diagnostics, and emergency clinic visits can quickly put pet owners in financial trouble. Although pet health insurance generally does not cover wellness without a separate endorsement, these products are designed as a buffer against catastrophic financial loss. As a dachshund dad, I am well aware of the risk of back problems for this particular breed. Surgery to correct sudden paralysis can cost upwards of $10,000 and is beyond the expertise of a GP like me. For this reason, I insure my dogs. Our little Grendel has had a Trupanion pet insurance policy for most of her life. We took out a similar policy for Zohan when he was eight weeks old. While Grendel never needed the dreaded dachshund back surgery, she had her fair share of health issues. Trupanion paid over $38,000 in claims throughout his life. Claims for Zohan recently topped $25,000 – and so far he too has managed to avoid back problems.
As the prices of everything continue to rise and economic forecasts become more uncertain, pet insurance can be a powerful tool to protect both the financial health of our households and the physical health of our pets. company.
It’s a tired old cliché that an ounce of prevention is better than cure. Yet, like many clichés, this one also endures because it rings so true. Staying up to date with recommended vaccinations protects your pet against diseases that can cost thousands of dollars to treat – often with uncertain results. Routine administration of heartworm, flea, tick and intestinal parasite prevention costs a fraction of the price of treating the illnesses they cause. Regular blood tests can detect hidden signs of disease before animals develop clinical signs. At these early stages, the chronic disease can be reversed, or at least managed more easily. It costs a lot less on the road than when the conditions are first discovered. Annual dental cleanings with X-rays can avoid the need for advanced — and expensive — dental surgeries down the road. And while preventative care has its own price tag, a wellness plan will help balance costs throughout the year instead of dealing with one or two big bills at a time.
It is becoming increasingly common for pet owners to invest in both wellness plans to cover routine and preventative care, and insurance to cover accidents, illnesses and injuries. emergency room. Although this may seem excessive at first glance, we are constantly reminded that we live in unprecedented times. As long as inflation continues to wreak havoc on our global economy and household incomes, the importance of planning and prevention cannot be overstated. Protecting our pets from the rising costs of caring for them can provide some of the peace of mind we need when we need it most.
Dr. Kupkee is the primary practitioner of Sabal Chase Veterinary Clinic.