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doctor ian kupkee holding his dachshund dog grendel


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The Rising Cost Of Caring For Pets


It’s no secret that the cost of just about everything has gone up - unfortunately, this includes the cost of veterinary care for your pet. Whether it’s food, vaccines, surgical supplies, lab fees, anesthesia, or dental cleanings, the minimum basic costs of everything your veterinarian needs to care for your pet have increased.  Thankfully, there are ways to manage costs without compromising the well-being of our furry family members.


Pet Wellness Plans

Many veterinary facilities offer pet wellness plans. Generally speaking, wellness plans cover costs associated with routine veterinary care. While the nature of such care often allows pet parents to plan ahead and budget accordingly, a wellness plan allows yearly costs to be spread out over the course of a year by paying a modest fee for preventative care every month. Services included in wellness plans generally include checkups, vaccinations, bloodwork, and parasite screenings. Plans can usually be tailored to fit your pet’s needs by adding spay/neuter procedures, dental cleanings, or diagnostic panels appropriate for senior pets. 


As the basic standard of care now includes annual dental cleaning with X-rays, be sure to choose a wellness plan that includes these services for your pet. Since many of the conditions that shorten our pets’ lives can be traced back to dental disease (think kidney failure, liver disease, and congestive heart failure), staying on top of dental health care is critical in stopping chronic illness in its tracks. It’s also important to pick a plan that includes unlimited veterinary exams. When exams are pre-paid, pet parents are more likely to seek out help for their pets at the first sign of trouble - before problems become more complicated, and consequently, more expensive to treat. 


Pet Health Insurance

Unlike wellness plans, pet health insurance covers costs associated with injuries, illness, and any other misadventure that leads to unexpected trips to the vet. Pet insurance is a godsend for pets suffering from chronic health conditions, or who are diagnosed with serious illnesses. Cancer treatments for pets, whilst very effective, can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. Orthopedic surgery, complex dental procedures, advanced diagnostics, and trips to the emergency clinic can quickly place pet parents in dire financial straits. While pet health insurance does not usually cover wellness without a separate rider, these products are designed as a buffer against catastrophic financial loss. As a dachshund dad, I am well aware of the risks of back problems for this particular breed. Surgery to correct sudden onset paralysis can cost well over $10K and is outside the expertise of a general practitioner like myself. For this reason, I insure my dogs. Our little Grendel had a Trupanion Pet Insurance Policy for most of her life. We bought a similar policy for Zohan when he was eight weeks old. While Grendel never needed the dreaded dachshund back surgery, she had her fair share of health problems. Trupanion paid over $38K in claims throughout her life. Claims for Zohan recently surpassed $25K - and so far, he too has managed to avoid back problems. 


As prices for everything continue to rise, and economic forecasts grow more uncertain, pet insurance can serve as a powerful tool to protect both the financial health of our households and the physical health of our pets.

By Dr. Ian Kupkee
Sabal Chase Animal Clinic


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