I know the number of people/families giving up their pets at shelters has grown due to the economy, but I was surprised to learn that the percentage of pets euthanized because their owners can't afford treatments has increased also. That, I would think, is reflective of how the economy has not recovered.
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Vet treatment has gotten high tech and very expensive. This doesn't surprise me in the least.
I would mention that people could get pet health insurance (we use Embrace for our dog--who, BTW, has cancer), but that would require a proactive step of protection so you can do everything possible for your pet. Our insurance has covered our dog through over $9,000 of chemotherapy treatments. After the $500 deductible was met, they cover 90% of the eligible expenses, including chemo, scans, and other medicines (the surgery alone to remove the intestinal tumors was $5,300). Our initial coverage when he was 5 years old was something like $400. Last years premium was closer to $800. Still a bargain, especially when you get a cancer diagnosis.
Unfortunately, proactive steps are not popular so expect the trend of "kill it and bring on a new one" to continue.
This doesn't even address the cruel pricks who mistreat their animals. I'm talking about people who are good, but simply can't afford giant vet bills. It's tough when an animal needs thousands in treatment and you can barely cover yourself.
P.S: Doggie in remission 9 months now. Clear scans every 6 - 8 weeks...so far.....
That has got to be a tough position for animal owners because I know it really is like a member of the family. I don't have pets, but my brother has a really old dog that can barely get around anymore. He can't really afford to get surgery for him, so he does everything he can to relieve the pain and hopes that one night that his pup passes away in his sleep, dreaming of chasing rabbits.