2017-07-22 / Community Life

Pet Chatter

Veterinary care: how much is too much?

Some people see pets as just animals. They don’t put a lot into their care. They feed them whatever is the least costly and do only the minimum as far as veterinary care.

For others, pets are family. They do whatever it takes to care for their pet in the best way possible. Some of these people are economically well-off.

Others are not so lucky. They need to closely control what they spend for food, health care and other creature comforts for their pet. Veterinary care can take a big toll on savings accounts or credit cards.

So, how much is too much? How far in debt does one go to care for a sick pet?

Years ago, many veterinarians cared for livestock. Farmers weighed the economic value of the animal involved versus the treatment needed. There were times when, as “agribusiness” people, they chose not to treat an ailing animal.

Veterinary medicine changed when more people began to get companion animals. Dogs were no longer just working animals. Cats were no longer just in the barn to catch rodents.

It wasn’t just about economics, but also about companionship and love.

Veterinarians recognized this and became what those animal owners wanted -- a pet doctor. At the same time, veterinary medicine expanded as human medicine did. More diagnostic testing was available, as well as more advanced surgeries.

A veterinarian’s office today for the most part resembles a doctor’s office. Those advances have come with a cost. We can now take extreme measures to save a pet and most of them are very costly.

In the end, the only person who can answer the question, “How much is too much?”, is the person holding the checkbook or credit card. You have to make hard choices when caring for your pet.

Ask your veterinarian to explain the treatment options and their cost as well as the likely outcomes. They understand that your resources are no unlimited. Your veterinarian’s office will most likely also be able to give you advice on pet insurance and credit options available for veterinary care. But only you can decide what is affordable.

‘Til next time, take care of those you love . . . even those with fur, feathers, fins or scales.

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