Feb 23, 2008

So what should the price be?

This recent Salon.com story about expensive vet bills touched a nerve for both myself and my sister. In the past, we've had expensive vet bills due to our cats. My sister nursed her cat through a serious bout of hepatic lipidosis five years ago, and it was touch and go for a while, but her kitty pulled through for a full recovery, and is still a healthy, frisky, talkative little scamp.

As for Roy, my cat, the result was sadder. After treating him for months with what was diagnosed with a thyroid issue, it turned out to be widespread cancer, and I had him euthanized.

In terms of the cost, both my sister and I agreed that it wasn't an issue for us. Luckily, the bills, while high, were eventually manageable. But one thing that stung was in the comments a couple of people said that their vets and assistants gave them dirty looks and comments when they mentioned that they were unsure about treatment due to the costs. That infuriated me. Needlessly making a difficult decision even more difficult. Disgusting.

People love their pets...but they're animals, and if a pet's treatment is going to cause financial hardship, discussing different options should be something the vet makes easier, not harder. My brother's friend, a vet, said his office will try and work out payment plans, which is a much more helpful solution than forcing a decision between an expensive payment and non-treatment.

(The article also mentioned that some offices will treat, then KEEP the animal and give it up for adoption if the owner(s) can't pay. I don't know HOW I feel about that, but that just seems WRONG.)

One other thought; the love of a pet shouldn't be quantified by the amount of money. I know my sister spent months nursing her cat back to health. As for myself, the most effective treatment for my cat was the least expensive, and the best thing I could do for him was to look in his eyes as the pupils dilated and his pain finally ended.