It’s no secret that the cost of everything has gone up – unfortunately, this includes the cost of veterinary care for your pet. Whether it’s food, vaccinations, surgical supplies, lab fees, anesthesia or dental cleaning, Minimum basic costs for everything a vet needs To take care of your pet increased. And all of these supplies above require expensive gasoline to get to our doors.
To make matters worse, the veterinary field is facing a severe shortage of vets, and More severe 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 jobs. The surge in demand for our services has quadrupled, which came as a result of stay-at-home requests, combined with the health risks of working with the general public during a pandemic, which has led many vets to retire. Younger workers have been forced to stay home with their children while schools are closed, and to this day, many still struggle to find reliable child care. The burnout and mental health issues that have long plagued our profession It was exacerbated by the epidemic, which prompted many good people to leave the field in order to survive. As a result, veterinary hospitals pay historically high wages to attract and retain talent. Add to that the higher rates of commercial rentals in South Florida, and it all equals the higher costs of pet hospitals and, ultimately, pet parents. Fortunately, there are ways to manage costs without compromising the well-being of our furry family members.
pet health plans
Many veterinary facilities offer pet wellness plans. In general, wellness plans cover the costs associated with routine veterinary care. While the nature of this care often allows pet parents to plan ahead and budget accordingly, a wellness plan allows for yearly costs to be spread out over a year by paying a modest fee for preventive care each month. Services included in wellness plans generally include checkups, vaccinations, blood tests, and parasite screening. Plans can usually be tailored to fit your pet’s needs by adding spay/neuter procedures, dental cleanings, or diagnostic panels suitable for larger pets.
Since the primary standard of care now includes annual dental x-rays, be sure to choose a health plan that includes these services for your pet. Since many of the conditions that shorten our pets’ lives can be traced back to dental disease (think kidney failure, liver disease, and congestive heart failure), staying on top of dental health care is critical to stopping chronic disease in its tracks. It is also important to choose a plan that includes unlimited veterinary testing. When exams are prepaid, pet parents are more likely to ask for help for their pet at the first sign of a problem – Before Problems become more complex, and therefore more expensive to treat.
Pet health insurance
Unlike wellness plans, pet health insurance covers costs associated with injuries, illness, and any other adventure that leads to unexpected trips to the vet. Pet insurance is a godsend for pets who have chronic health conditions, or who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. Cancer treatments for pets, while highly effective, can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. Orthopedic surgery, complex dental procedures, advanced diagnoses, and trips to the emergency clinic can put pet parents into severe financial hardship. While pet health insurance usually doesn’t cover wellness without a separate rider, these products are designed as a buffer against catastrophic financial loss. As a Dachshund parent, I am well aware of the risks of back problems for this particular breed. Surgery to correct sudden paralysis can cost over $10,000 and is outside the realm of expertise of a general practitioner like me. For this reason, I believe in my dogs. Little Grendel has had a Trupanion pet insurance policy for most of her life. We bought a similar policy for Zohan when he was eight weeks old. While Grendel did not need back surgery on the Fearsome Dachshund, she did have health issues. Trupanion has paid out more than $38,000 in claims over her life. Zohan’s claims recently exceeded $25,000 – and so far, he’s also been able to avoid back problems.
With the price of everything continuing to rise, and uncertainty in the economic outlook increasing, pet insurance can be a powerful tool to protect the financial health of our families and the physical health of our pets.
It’s a tired old cliché that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. However, like many clichés, this one too goes on because it sounds so true. Staying up to date on recommended vaccinations protects your pet from diseases that can cost thousands of dollars to treat – often with uncertain results. Routinely administering prevention of heartworm, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites costs a fraction of the cost of treating the diseases they cause. Regular blood work can detect hidden signs of illness before pets show clinical signs. In these early stages, chronic disease can be reversed, or at least more easily managed. This costs significantly less down the road, than it did when the conditions were first discovered. Annual dental x-rays could prevent the need for advanced – and expensive – dental surgeries in the future. And while preventative care comes at its own price, a wellness plan will help balance costs throughout the year rather than dealing with one or two large bills at a time.
It is becoming more and more common for pet parents to invest in both wellness plans to cover routine and preventative care, and insurance to cover accidents, illnesses, and emergencies. While this may seem excessive at first glance, we are constantly reminded that we are living in unprecedented times. As long as inflation continues to wreak havoc on both our global economy and household income, the importance of planning and prevention cannot be overstated. Protecting our pets from the increasing costs of caring for them can bring some much-needed peace of mind at a time when we need it most.
Dr. Kopke is the lead practitioner in Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.