A couple of facts that might interest you as a pet caretaker. Over the past five years the cost of veterinary care is rising at about 10% per year. The average cost of a visit to the vet now cost $287 and that is just for the basics. If the vet does ancillary testing, the cost can rise into the thousands in a hurry. The cost of veterinary services has risen so dramatically, that a new phrase “economic euthanasia” is now being used. This is when a pet is euthanized because the pet caretaker cannot afford the treatment. This is not what I signed up for when I went to vet school some 40 years ago.
There are many reasons why this is happening. One is that corporate veterinary medicine has established itself with companies like VCA and Banfield. These corporately owned vet clinics have standardized their practices focusing on their primary intent, making profit. The cost of veterinary college has become enormously expensive forcing fees to go up to cover this major expense. Another factor is that veterinary associates are now being paid a percentage of the collected income they generate for the clinic. The higher your bill, the more they make. It is that simple.
One way the industry has tried to offset the expenses for the caretaker is to promote pet health insurance. Now, major insurance companies are covering pets simply because there is profit to be made. All of these add up to continuing increases in the cost of veterinary services and it can be guaranteed that it will not stop in the near future.
Several years ago, one of the top veterinary publications, Veterinary Economics, had an article discussing making profit during hard times. For them, it was simple. If your practice income is down 15% for the year, increase your fees by 15%. This is how corporate America works, not veterinary medicine. We are supposed to care about our clients and when they are struggling economically, the last thing we should be doing is raising our prices.
A fundamental cause for high veterinary fees is our basic approach to health care in the US. Conventional vet and human care is a reactionary health care system. We wait until the patient becomes ill and then we treat the illness. Many pets develop serious diseases that often become chronic. The cost for diagnostic work and treatment for these diseases has become enormous and unfortunately, many pets have to take medications for these problems the rest of their lives. Twenty years ago, the cost of a bottle of insulin used for pets was $19. Today it is about $120.
One approach that will assuredly minimize the economic burden caused by veterinary services is to change our focus on pet health care. Instead of our pet health care being reactive, we should be proactive. We should focus on preventative care in order to keep our pets healthy instead of waiting until they develop serious problems that are not good for them or the bank account.
When we become proactive, we ask ourselves and our vets, what do we need to do to keep our pets health in this moment. This does not mean routine vaccinations and blood work. Instead, we focus on feeding the appropriate diets, minimize vaccinations or do vaccine titers instead of general vaccinations, avoid toxic chemicals when dealing with fleas and ticks and minimize the stress in our pet’s environment. This is my primary objective at this stage in my career; to give guidance to clients in keeping their pets healthy and not just dealing with diseases when they occur.
I have created a private Facebook Page for a limited number of people who have ready access to me at all times. Our members are very focused on natural methods for providing perfect health and well being for their pets. They also rely on me for their support through tough times dealing with health care decisions. The support that comes with a group of like-minded caretakers is enormously helpful. It is like one big family of support.
Many times, a member will post a question about their pet’s immediate health situation and many times I can give them guidance and avoid a trip to the vet. Remember, each trip cost averages $287.
Every two weeks I give a Zoom meeting to discuss various health conditions. These meetings might address appropriate diets, medical conditions, how to deal with them and how to avoid them and many other topics. We will often do a guided healing meditation for members and their pets who need healing.
The cost of this private FB group is $29 per month and the yearly total is about the cost of one trip to the vet. Remember, it is all about prevention and proactive approaches and this is what we focus on.
If you are interested in joining, I would love to have you. Here is a link to the page that discusses the group and how to sign up. I look forward to you joining us.