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October 09, 2012

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H. Houlahan

Veterinary expenses have really snowballed in recent years, even in a stagnant economy.

Vets may want to consider whether they are pricing themselves out of a career.

Brent

H -- The veterinary part is an interesting topic in its own right. Veterinarians are highly specialized degrees -- and with the cost of higher education, they (IMO) deserve the right to earn money in line with their higher degree.

That said, I think one of the more interesting parts of Veterinary care is that it is becoming an awful lot like the medical field where there are specialists for most of the different proceedures -- and the specialists are very expensive. It's not unlike human health care, and while some are more than willing to pay for the specialized care (ie, I paid a pretty penny for TPLO on both knees for one of my dogs), there are a large number of people who simply cannot do it...

Anthony

I find it weird, based only on my experience, that renting/owning home does not rank on here. I see a lot of people with that trouble. even to the point of not only deciding against adoption, but also surrendering a pet they already have. Perhaps that is lumped into "lifestyle."

db

Now it will be up to those of us who want to get more pets into homes to creatively figure out how to "use" this information.
And, it makes me very sad to see how many said they don't like cats. I don't get that at all . . . but I live with 4 cats right now and would love to have more, but can't. If there are any out there who would have said this about cats, please help me understand this perspective. (And I also love dogs, but can't add one to my family because of my cats.)

Lisa (Hospets)

I see much different numbers in our area regarding pet ownership by seniors. In my county nearly half of the seniors have at least one pet, often multiple pets. With that said, many of the seniors neglect their own care in order to care for their pets to the best of their ability. Most cannot afford vet care. Flea and tick preventative is whatever they can find at the grocery store (usually a collar or a powder). And many have a difficult time affording pet food. There is also a huge issue of being able to find a backup caregiver for the pet should the owner need hospitalized.

With a little bit of help, the senior pet owners are some of the most devoted and caring people out there. And the pets provide HUGE health and emotional benefit to the seniors. Unfortunately there is not a lot of help out there for them and if there is, it is difficult to locate.

We started an organization in our county to directly respond to these issues and it has been very well received. I would love to see more communities with programs like ours. For more info see www.hospets.org or visit us on Facebook

Brent

Lisa -- I love the program that helps seniors with the financial aspect of having to care for pets -- and the issue of having a backup caregiver. I applaud your efforts in this and I think it is a great program to help seniors overcome the barriers to pet ownership -- which I believe many can benefit from.

I will note though that according to the AVMA, nearly 60% of people in the US own pets, so if "nearly half" of seniors own pets in your area that is still probably less than the national average for non seniors. I would imagine with the help you're providing that you are doing better than most places though.

Brent

Anthony -- agree that this is a major factor in Kansas City for sure -- and I suspect they grouped this under lifestyle -- as many people choose to rent because they're lifestyle is such that they do not have the time (or willingness) to take care of a home -- so I can see that many would not own pets for the same reason. But we do see a lot of people in KC who do rent, who want pets, but are not allowed to by landlords.

Lisa (Hospets)

Brent I think the latest info I have seen regarding senior pet ownership nationwide was from a Gallup poll and if I remember correctly the average was 47% for people 65+ with the percentage dropping as the age increased.

I think the number will probably increase slightly in the coming years as more and more retirement living environments are seeing the benefits of pets for the seniors and are opening their doors.

Brent

Lisa -- I suspect (and definitely hope) that you are correct and that we will continue to see increases in this area as walls to ownership are removed for seniors.

Mary

The cost of vet care here has probably doubled in the last 5 yrs, becoming unaffordable for more and more folks, as young vets replace the old pro's.
Many of these new vets insist on providing "gold standard" care instead of basic care. Appears to me that there are two reasons for this: 1. CYA; I see vets who appear to be practicing defensive medicine as though they were afraid of being sued if they did not perform every high-tech test available. 2. Student debt; many of these younger vets have debt loads from college that would have been unheard of previously.
I, for one, would like to see more vets offer basic, no-frills care - which is better than no care.

CristyF

I work at a vet as a kennel attendant, and I have come to realize that the costliness of vet care is more paying the wages of the people that work there than for the care itself (supplies don't cost that much, in-house tests don't cost that much to run). The practice I work for is not huge, but it definitely isn't small. There are people who work the front desk, people who work in the kennel, people who work in treatment, along with multiple veterinarians and two managers who work under the business owners. It costs a lot to pay the wages of all those people (I make 9.50/hr, but there are people who make more than me and people who make less than me). So next time you take your pet to the vet, remember the exorbitant prices are paying the employees' wages!

Jenn

I have a vet tip - my husband is a pharmacist so most of the prescriptions for our dog are about 10% of the cost if he fills them himself. I always recommend asking the vet if this is a medication that is available at a pharmacy. If it is, have them give you a written scrip and take it to your local low cost pharmacy (Cost Co is ours in SoCal). The reason prices are so exorbitant at the vet is because they can't order medications in bulk like the pharmacy can. The cost for the vets is much higher than for the pharmacy. You'd be surprised to see that $90 medication go down to $10 at the pharmacy. For us, the biggest cost has been the medication and this has helped us tremendously. Our vet also knows going in that my husband is "cheap". This means no unneccessary tests. We pull the good guy/bad guy routine in any office and he has actually asked a vet "how much to put her down" when they came in with an $800 treatment plan for a kitten we found on the street. That bill magically went down to well under $200 when he asked that question. The kitten survived just fine with some IV fluids and a defleaing. Amazing how one minute she needed a life saving blood transfusion and hundreds of dollars in critical care, but when it came down to us only giving $45 to put her to sleep that transfusion disappeared. Luckily, that wasn't our regular vet (it was an Emergency Vet). Our regular vet is good with conservative treatments. Much better on the pocketbook and on our pets.

Taimi Koho

The survey is not bad at all.Many of people really don't like to adopt pets because of those facts.In Finland country there are still some people love having pet and adapting because of the reason that they are enjoying having a pet and the fact that pet is one of the best way on putting out the stress in your life specially after work.

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Flea attacks on individuals represent a issue which many individuals usually neglect either out of discomfort or due to the fact that they are not a serious situation. But these little bugs bring a lot of illnesses, and through their chew the germs can get into your blood stream vessels and cause an disease.

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