via Preventable pet diseases can be costly if not treated early, clarionledger.com
PDF: Pet diseases costly
Any pet owner knows that taking care of a pet comes with its financial responsibilities.
Since taking “Bella” or “Max” to the vet is likely to put a crimp in your wallet, many people have begun taking out pet insurance on their furry friends. But many more pet owners just pay for the expenses out of pocket, and Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on veterinary bills.
Just as with humans, keeping your pet healthy can help you avoid the costs of having to pay later. Recently, Nationwide Insurance (the nation’s largest pet insurance provider) combed through its records of more than 600,000 covered pets to determine the cases that cost the most, but which could have been prevented or mitigated if pet owners had taken preventive measures.
The search provided some interesting data to underline what many pet owners already knew: neglecting your pet’s general health needs can cost you more in the long run, and your furry (or scaled, or feathery) companion will have to bear the cost in pain, discomfort and possibly a shorter life.
Nationwide noted the five most costly conditions, which could be treatable if caught early. (Keep in mind these are just averages; what you pay will vary depending on a number of factors.):
Dental disease. Just as you and I need to see the dentist regularly, your pet’s teeth need care, too. The average cost to treat dental diseases, such as tooth infections and cavities, is about $391, and can cost much more, depending on the condition. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly, or having your vet do it, costs less than treating advanced — and often painful —dental problems.
External parasites. Conditions transmitted by ticks and fleas such as Lyme disease and skin allergies carry an average cost of $244 to treat, and just $121 to prevent. Using preventative flea and tick medications, and regularly inspecting your pet for infestations, costs a lot less than having to have these conditions treated later.
Internal Parasites. Getting your pet treated for heartworms, roundworms and other internal parasites costs on average $207 to treat, but just $35 to prevent, according to the Nationwide data. Heartworm infestations, according to the American Animal Hospital Association, can cost $400 to $1,000 to treat. Annual exams and preventive medications can greatly reduce the chances of infestations, and medications can cover a range of parasites in one pill or treatment.
Infectious diseases. Dogs and cats can get some serious and life-threatening diseases, such as Parvovirus and feline leukemia. Treatments can be very costly, averaging $841, according to the Nationwide data. But getting your dog or cat vaccinated costs much less and can help prevent many diseases.
Reproductive organ diseases. While perhaps lesser known to many pet owners, diseases of the reproductive system can be costly, costing an average of $609 to treat. But early spaying or neutering is cheaper and can prevent some problems. “Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer,” notes the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.”
Respiratory infections. Diseases such as kennel cough and feline upper respiratory virus averaged about $190 to treat, but generally less than $25 to treat with a vaccination.
“Seeking a veterinarian’s recommendation for wellness care not only saves pet owners money but also helps prevent our pets from unnecessary, painful ailments,” noted Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide, who in addition to a veterinary medical degree has a master of business administration degree. “The cornerstone of good veterinary care has always been catching diseases early. I strongly recommend that pet owners schedule routine wellness examinations with their local veterinarian. Being proactive is in your pet’s best interest.”
For more on Nationwide’s study, visit http://prn.to/2fDsm4x.
Interesting side note: I chose “Bella” and “Max” as pet names for a reason. A search of the web found a lot of pet owners like the name “Bella.” There are numerous (and conflicting) sources of the most popular dog and cat names, but Findcatnames.comsays its users ranked Bella as the most popular name for female cats and Simba the top name for male cats. Dog-sitting company Rover says its users ranked Bella as the top female dog name and Max the top male dog name.