Pet Care From A Pet Owner’s Perspective
In the last blog, I looked at the dilemma of providing modern veterinary services and but with the increased cost to perspective clients. Today, let’s look at pet care from a client’s perspective and see where things go.
We have all heard about the great emotional and physical value of having a cat or dog (or rabbit, or whatever) as a pet. They reduce stress, encourage owner exercise, and help with depression and other medical issues. All of that fly away hair and yucky kisses help kids desensitize to certain allergies and challenge their immune system in a good way. Then there is the whole “best friend” aspect of a pet that you just can’t ignore. Let’s all get a pet (appropriate to your allergies and housing situation, of course) and be happy.
All Of Those Hidden Expenses
But wait! I wasn’t prepared for all of those hidden expenses. Most pets come with a fee of some sort (pure bred or rescue, there usually is a fee for owning/adopting and it is no joke!). OK, now they are home and all is good right? Not so fast. There are wellness visits, preventive care such as monthly flea control and heart worm preventative. Dog licencing, spay or neuter, puppy classes? Wow this first year is starting to really get expensive. My new pet may be fun for my kids but, as the responsible adult in the family, I am getting a little overwhelmed with all of these pet bills. When will it ever stop?
An Expansion of Veterinary Services
Veterinary medicine has exploded over the last couple decades with new technology and expanded specialty services, all geared to providing premium services to our animal companions. As medical breakthrough are advancing in human medicine and extending quality living, pet owners are demanding that these services be carried over to the modern animal hospital. Gone are the days where a general practitioner handled all or most of your pet’s needs. Now, the average pet owner has access to specialists for surgery, neurology, ophthalmology, reproduction, oncology, and more. A single pet, with multiple medical issues can be seen to by a team of doctors. That is if the owner is willing to travel and is financially able to cover the cost. Here is where the conflict comes in.
Keeping up with the Needs of Our Patients in the Modern Animal Hospital
Pet owners want (no, are demanding and rightly so) the best care possible for their animals. The average veterinary practice is aware of this and responds by keeping up to date on the most current treatments and equipment available to meet their clients’ expectations.
A new anesthetic monitoring machine that can monitor heart rate and rhythm, oxygen saturation and blood pressure. How about the latest in nerve blocks so that your pet’s dental extractions are less painful and have a smoother recovery? Top it off with the newest dental sealant and your pet is good to go. Then there is the cooling system that we use on our orthopedic patients to reduce swelling and pain postoperatively. We can help our patients recover from a cruciate procedure with equipment that is similar to what people are using in the human world of medicine. Let’s not forget our state of the art lab machines that can give important blood results in minutes ( no waiting those couple of days for the results to come back from an outside lab). For critical patients, a doctor can send an EKG over the phone and get a cardiac consult while you wait.
As pet owners, we want the best and we want it now or else we will look for another hospital that can meet out expectations. This is not a bad thing, right? After all, we just want to see our dog or cat be happy and pain free, healthy and disease free. So what is the trade off for all of these expanded services, both in the general practice and specialty field? The cost! Continue…
1. Why do I have to get my puppies and kittens a series of vaccines instead of just one?
When puppies and kittens are born, they are able to share some of their mother’s antibody protection against diseases such as parvo virus and distemper through nursing milk. As time goes on (over the next few weeks to months from birth), the young pet’s own immune response kicks in and the mother’s protection decreases. A series of two vaccines are needed at any time a vaccine is started(except for the Rabies vaccine) to formulate a strong immune response, but the question is- When should those vaccines be given? If given at too young of an age, the mother’s immunity blocks the vaccines from being effective. If given too late, there is a risk of the mother’s protection being too weak or gone and the pet is exposed to a virus before the immune protection benefit of the vaccine. To manage this immune delemma, we vaccinate puppies and kittens every 3-4 weeks starting at 8 weeks of age until 16-20 weeks old.
Do you have a cat or dog that is not a youngster but never vaccinated? They still need a set of two vaccines 3-4 weeks apart to be protected (again, the Rabies vaccine is a single booster and an exception to this rule). Some vaccines last 6 months, some are good for 3 years. It is up to your veterinarian to set a schedule of reminders so that you can keep track of your pet’s preventive needs.