What would you do to save the life of your pet? Mother Nature Network recently published an in-depth look at the lengths pet owners are willing to go to to save their pets’ lives. The responses may surprise you.
According to a poll conducted last year by online lending resource LendEDU, dog owners are willing to spend an average of over $10,000 on medical treatment to save the life of their dog. Cat owners, however, are only willing to spend an average of $3,500. While these figures represent the upper limits of what pet owners are willing to spend, the actual average annual cost of medical care seems to be much lower. According to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), pet owners typically only spend between $210 and $260 on routine medical care for their pets each year.
The real test for pet owners is when an unforeseen medical issue come up. Citing data from insurance provider Nationwide, the article notes that the the average cost of treating the most common emergent health issues is $255 for dogs — for the treatment of skin allergies — and $495 for cats — for the treatment of urinary tract issues. In total, Nationwide spent over $96 million in 2017 on policy claims for pets.
While these figures represent the more common emergent medical treatments pets and their owners may face, the outliers can be exceptionally high.
The article describes the account of one woman who spent over $30,000 on emergency medical care for her pet dog. While some owners are willing to pay as much as possible to save the life of their pets, doing so may involve taking on considerable debt. Citing predatory lenders with high interest rates, Douglas Aspros, veterinarian and former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), says that owners’ willingness to do anything to save their pets puts some veterinarians in an ethical bind.
“It’s wonderful that people are willing to spend $10,000 or $20,000 to deal with their sick pet, but ethically it puts us in quicksand. If a client wants me to do a $20,000 surgery on a cat, the practicality has to go beyond, ‘There’s someone willing to pay for it.’ As a society, should we be promoting that?”
— Douglas Aspros, Veterinarian & Former President, AVMA
For more information about the lengths pet owners are — and aren’t — willing to go to to save their pets, check out the full article on MNN.