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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How Much Could You Spend?

I've often said that any pet owner needs to have at least $500 set aside for sudden animal health emergencies. When we removed the kidney from the cat last week, the owner's bill was around $1500, and they're looking at another thousand or two in chemotherapy. This morning we received a report from the local emergency clinic for a patient of ours that had never been spayed, and ended up with a serious uterine infection. Several days, numerous lab tests, emergency surgery, intense hospitalization, and $4000 later, the pet went home.

Last month I posted a poll asking how much you could spend right now if your pet had a serious illness or injury. Here are the results after 41 votes:
Less than $100--2%
Over $1000--50%

This isn't a scientific study, but the results surprised me. Sixty-four percent of the people taking the poll could spend over $500 on their pet. I wish these people were my clients!

Veterinary care isn't as expensive as human medical care, but it's not cheap if your pet becomes suddenly and seriously ill. A $4000 bill is far beyond what most people can pay, but it's still a fraction of the cost if the same thing had happened in a human.

Oh, and here's another plug for preventative care. That $4000 emergency clinic visit would have been completely and utterly avoided and the pet would never have been at this risk if they had spayed her when she was younger.


  1. I have a credit card which is kept for emergencies. It has a £3000 credit limit which Google tells me is worth $4966.20.

    I do use it a little bit to make sure the credit company don't close it down, and the dogs do have to 'share' it with the house in case something important breaks down. But I'd be able to clear it up within a reasonably short time because my pets are more important to me than anything and I'd priortise their bills over luxuries.

  2. What happened to the pictures of your pets that used to be up?

  3. We spent over $500 on Mugsey. Right now I'd have a hard time justifying it for Dispatch but I bet we could scrape it up. My daughter is still paying off a $4000 vet bill from the University of MO I think for a Jack Russel, he didn't survive.
    An emergency fund is an excellent idea!

  4. I wish those were my clients too! And I second the just get your dog spayed and do it young idea!

  5. I think the actual numbers would be far lower than your poll results. Most people who frequent your blog are interested in their pet's health, are reading outside information about the topic (or they wouldn't be here) and some even have blogs about their pet (such as myself).

    These people are probably a special subset of those who have companion animals and those who aren't reading outside information (even in the form of a very well written blog) are less likely to spend that kind of money on their pet. I would take a guess than a similar amount would not seek vet care at all.

    In regards to your question, Sirius has had the following since his adoption two years ago:
    Neuter ($350)
    X-rays ($300)
    Hip surgery ($1200 w/ meds and post care)
    Emergency visit ($200 for eating something he shouldn't)

    This of course does not include regular care and upkeep, such as day-to-day items and monthly preventatives.

    What percentage of your current clients would fall into each of the categories you mentioned?


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