Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets. www.greytinspirations.com

Pet health care

I found several interesting items about pets in the news this weeks. I know the economy is hurting a lot of people right now. Have you wondered what the effect will be on how we care for our pets?

Well, there was a story in the Washington Post this week (Home Economics of Anxious Times: Dyeing Your Hair in the Kitchen Sink) that had the following quote:

Spending on pet services, for example, is expected to grow 6 percent this year after jumping as much as 40 percent earlier in the decade, according to an industry trade group.

So, it sounds like that’s a big cutback for pet services, even if there is still some growth.

The same article also has this segment:

Brenda Waller, 42, of Herndon said her consulting firm has frozen salaries, and she’s worried about the future. She has called off the lawn care service for the coming summer and asked the woman who does her nails to cut them extra short — so the manicure will last longer. And no more pedicures. But she is holding on to DoodyCalls, a company that cleans up after her pets in the yard. Founder Jacob D’Aniello said his Charlottesville-based company grew by 21 percent last year.

“The only time I really felt we’d be in trouble,” he said, “is if everybody woke up one morning and decided they liked picking up dog poop.”

Hmmm. Well, maybe nobody likes to pick up dog poop but I wonder if everybody is going to continue to be able to afford to pay somebody else to do it for them?

2299629418_4710803a9f_mThere’s also this item from TimesoftheInternet.com:

Sick pets paying price for recession

Timesoftheinternet.com
January 31, 2009
Americans who must euthanize their sick dogs and cats because they can no longer afford veterinary care are feeling guilt pangs, pet experts say.
With average annual costs of $356 for dogs and $190 for cats, veterinary care is becoming a luxury for some cash-strapped pet owners, and their animals are paying the ultimate price for the financial downtown, USA Today reported Saturday.
“People just don’t have the money to do extensive treatments for their pets, so they may euthanize them sooner,” said Linda Lawrence, an instructor at Michigan State University’s School of Social Work and the founder of a support group for people whose pets have died. “And people who are giving them up are feeling so guilty. So the recession has also hit our animal kingdom.”
“Because of the financial downturn, we’re hearing from people who can’t afford to provide care for their animals,” added Elizabeth Strand of the University of Tennessee’s Veterinary Social Work program.
She told USA Today said she recently spoke with a couple having to choose between getting treatment for their small dog, who was suffering from a treatable autoimmune disease, or paying the mortgage.

(I wonder if that’s the same Elizabeth Strain I went to school with?)

That’s a horribly sad story but I think it is a sign of our times. I don’t think it’s only about the economic downturn though. Even before the economy started going sour people were beginning to have to make some tough decisions about treatment for pets. I think we’ve reached the stage now where many treatments for our pets are very similar to human treatments — cancer surgeries, chemo, etc. We’re talking about veterinary care that can cost many thousands of dollars. Even if you have pet insurance it may not cover a fraction of these costs. I literally know people who have mortgaged their homes and taken out loans to pay for cancer treatment for their pets. It’s more than a little scary. How many of us could afford to do that? Or, should we?

Here’s another one from my hometown:

Pet Owners Struggle with Medical Care Costs

Abena Williams
WDEF.com
February 6, 2009
Six the dog recently had surgery and just finished up his physical therapy. While many people dread paying their own medical bills, Deane Peterson says paying for his pets treatment is worth it.
Peterson, “We put our animals first so we’ll take the sacrifices we need to.”
In this faltering economy, many people simply can’t afford medical care for their pets. It’s something Dr. Billy Pullen of River Vet Emergency Clinic has noticed.
Dr. Pullen, “Sometimes they have to make difficult decisions for their pet, life and death decisions. And you hate that finances have to factor into that but sometimes they do.”
Dr. Pullen says the economy has forced many people to skip costly MRI’s and other treatments when their pet is sick or suffers an injury. Pullen, “On the emergency side they are seeing more people that aren’t able to pursue a full diagnostic workup and things like that.” Riley is a lucky dog, he was hit by a car but his owners were able to save him.
Deane Peterson, “I really feel for a lot of people out there with the economy these days that can’t afford, it’s a choice between paying the heating bill or getting their own medication.”
Dr. Pullen says preventative care can help pet owners save money in the long run.
Pullen, “The routine things really are very important, a balanced diet, exercise, weight management. Just like in us it plays a major role in general health.”
Many people opt for credit when an emergency strikes. Pet insurance is also an option, but Dr. Pullen reminds people to read the fine print. Dr. Pullen, “In most situations the owner has to pay up front and they’re reimbursed, you have to be careful because most of them don’t cover pre-existing conditions.”
Riley and Six will both bounce back, something their owners are grateful for.

I don’t know. Something about all of this makes me a little angry. There are people in the world who can’t afford to get their prescriptions. There are Americans without health care. And the cost of veterinary care for our pets keeps getting higher and higher. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I just feel like the rest of us can’t keep up. But something about all of it makes me mad.

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February 27, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , ,

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