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What we’d spend to save our pet

A majority of pet owners would pay $500 for life-saving veterinary care, but less than half would fork over $1,000, only a third would spend $2,000, and only about 20 percent would be willing to pay $5,000.

So says an Associated Press-Petside.com poll about the cost of health care for animals, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.

Only at the $500 level were dog owners (74 percent) more likely than cat owners (46 percent) to say they would likely seek treatment. In the higher price ranges, the two are about equally likely to seek vet care.

“Euthanasia is always sad but when finances have to be considered, when you feel there is a possibility you didn’t or couldn’t do the right thing, you feel guilty,” said veterinarian Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. “We are at a point where we are talking about basic life needs or survival needs.”

One in five pet owners said they fret a lot about being unable to afford seeing a vet. Dog owners are more likely to worry than cat owners, and low-income people are among the biggest worriers, which is probably because they have the biggest worries.

About one in four people, or 27 percent, said pet insurance is a good way to save money on vet bills, though only about 5 percent of pet owners actually have it.

The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Comments

Comment from Alexis
Time June 9, 2010 at 11:30 am

Now this really makes me angry because there is always an agenda on those stupid polls and the key word revealing that agenda is “would”. People “would” pay so much but “wouldn’t” pay more. The REALITY – hello reporters, pollsters and assorted media talking heads – is the word should be COULD or COULDN’T. Paying a vet bent on financial extortion to pay for their newest luxury car, vacation or private school for the kiddies is SO often not a choice. Oh, yeah, I’ll pay to fix Fido’s luxated patella to the tune of 10 grand and simply postpone my luxury cruise! What veterinarians and their professional associations do NOT want to understand and are NOT sympathetic to even if they listen to pet parents (which they do not) is that this isn’t “choosing” where to spend your money because if there is no money to spend, there is NO MONEY TO SPEND. The emotional leverage vets use on people to extract ever more money is completely disgusting. Among my horse/dog parent acquaintances (and there are many) the chief (frank) terror is inability to afford medical care for their animals. A dog vet told me recently (former vet, I fired him) that “only rich people should have animals.”

Comment from Marcy
Time June 10, 2010 at 11:28 am

The high cost of vet bills in an economic downturn can also make people decide NOT to get another pet when the one eventually dies that has required thousands in vet bills. This is NOT a matter of having to postpone a luxury cruise or other large purchase, but rather a matter of the emotional toll it takes too when vets *guilt* people into having expensive work done that ultimately does no good and that causes pain to the animal.

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