Money is an issue we often deal with in the veterinary world. We hear people complain about prices all the time or mutter as they leave that all we care about is money. Some days we shake it off, and some days it shakes us.
My frustration on this day arose from a “rescued” puppy. The lady called us stating that she had rescued a puppy; however she followed that quickly with “but I’m on disability and money is an issue.” Like all services, we don’t work for free. So when I heard this I let her know that the cost of our exam fee and was immediately angered to learn she couldn’t cover it. However, she was willing to sign a payment plan.
Let me pause for a moment. The clinic I work at has had payment plans in the past. However it seems that while people are more than willing to sign a payment plan in the moment, once their pet is healthy and safe, a lot of people don’t seem to think that the vet who saved them deserves to be paid. Or as we often hear, something else has come up.
I wanted to let the lady know that she hadn’t rescued that puppy. That if she couldn’t afford a basic exam, she was simply condemning it to a life full of half remedies and improper diets… but we can’t say that. So I quietly let her know that I could make some calls, but there are no guarantees.
So here’s the thing we’re not supposed to say… Having a pet is not a right, it is not mandatory. If you can’t afford an exam, vaccines, medication, and food, then you shouldn’t have a pet and you definitely shouldn’t “rescue” any animals.
I go over it every time I hear about the “money issue.” Why are people so shocked that medical fees are expensive? Our doctors aren’t quacks; they went to school just like people doctors. Often I think it might be connected to us as Canadians. Canadians are used to free medical and I believe some of our shock comes from that. My intention isn’t to suggest that every medical procedure is necessary or that every veterinarian is honest. And I know that emergencies often happen at the worst times, but just like when you purchase a car, a pet comes with a certain level of fiscal responsibility. Vaccines, food, grooming, parasite treatments, and yes, emergencies, are a costly and intrinsic part of being a pet owner.
There are ways to prepare though! Pet insurance is a growing industry that offers a variety of levels of coverage and a variety of companies to choose from; Petsecure, PC Insurance, and Trupanion are just a few. Medicard offers emergency loans for pet owners. Simply go to medi-card.com/veterinary-services.php and follow the links to apply for a loan to cover your pet’s emergency surgery. Or you can make regular payments into your account at your veterinary hospital, ensuring that those credits are always there for your use.
Every day we hear about the “money issue” and for the most part, we do what we can to help out the owners we meet. But every day we also see the pets that suffer because of it.