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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Costs Of Not Preventing

I have always preferred the idea of preventing disease to treating it.  It makes sense that it costs more to deal with a problem than to keep it from happening.  Ben Franklin said it best when he wrote "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  This very topic was the focus of one of my earliest blog posts back in 2008.  But while most people seem to understand this theoretically, it can be hard to bring it home to their wallets.

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) recently released costs associated with various common dog and cat health concerns that could be prevented.  Based on their data they showed what the average cost is to treat each condition compared to what it costs to prevent it.  The results are pretty revealing.

Dental Diseases (tooth infections, periodontal disease, etc.)
Treatment:  $531.71
Prevention:  $171.82

Internal Parasites (roundworms, tapeworms, giardia, etc.)
Treatment:  $179.93
Prevention:  $29.51

External Parasites (heartworms, lyme disease, flea allergy dermatitis, etc.)
Treatment:  $180.67
Prevention:  $84.89

Infectious Disease (parvo virus, feline leukemia, etc.)
Treatment:  $678.24
Prevention:  $73.52 for cats, $85.14 for dogs

Reproductive Organ Diseases (pyometra, prostate disorders, ovarian cancer, etc.)
Treatment:  $531.98
Prevention:  $269.69

Personally I disagree with the classification of heartworm disease as "external", even though it is transmitted by mosquito.  And I know that treatment for that costs anywhere from $600-1000.

Even if these are only average costs and not exact, it really emphasizes how much money people save by making sure that their pets' preventative care stays up to date.  By not giving vaccines, heartworm prevention, flea prevention and so on clients are not only risking their pets' health and lives, they are also potentially costing themselves much more money.

So why do people avoid such care?  Understandably they may not have the money.  But if that is a long-term issue they should probably consider giving up their pet to someone who can give it the proper care.  People also often don't understand the true risks and costs.  I've had many clients who didn't think their pet could get parvo or heartworms and then ended up with hundreds of dollars in bills to treat these diseases.

If you own a pet, please, please, please keep up with preventative care.  And make sure you pass that nugget of wisdom along to all of your pet-owning friends.

1 comment:

  1. I just "found" you today. perfect post.
    I have just had my pup neutered today and will,when we pick him up in 2 hours,also collect his heartworm and flea Rx. The cat brings in fleas so he will be treated as well. I have been doing a huge internet search comparing treatments. I have it down to Revolution and/or Advantage Multi.
    The discussion I am just entering (right NOW) into with my spouse is the costs of this Rx PLUS the neuter. For me,there is no argument. So, he will sigh and roll his eyes and sigh again and I will pay for the meds. No option, especially when comparing your costs above. btw we do have pet insurance and *touch wood* have never needed it. but then again, my house has never caught on fire. :)


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