Concern over pet owners’ abilities to pay vet bills

New research has shown that over 76 per cent of Australian pet owners are worried about being able to afford their pets vet bills.

The study by online pet shop Fur King also revealed that only 31 per cent of pets are insured and that Victoria was the least insured state, with 79 per cent of pets uninsured.

Dr Leigh Davidson, from Your Vet Online, said they have been seeing a significant uptake in people not turning up for vet appointments.

“Unlike other service providers, most vets don’t charge a deposit for a booking, and we are seeing up to 20 per cent appointments being no shows.”

“There has been a trend of customers putting off initial screenings such as blood tests. While these can cost around $200-300, it allows for early diagnosis and treatment that can often prevent a much higher bill in the future.

“My worry is the next thing to suffer will be dog dental hygiene which not only causes significant oral disease, but can predispose to expensive long term health problems, not to mention the welfare implications.”

Tom Sadler, General Manager of Fur King, said Cost of living pressure are affecting all areas of discretionary spending including pets.

“Despite this we have found that many customers will put their pets’ need before their own. There have been multiple instances where customers have told us that they have cut back on spending on their own food to be able to feed their pet or pay a pet’s medical bill.”

Dr Moss Siddle, veterinarian founder of Medechat, said there are more pet owners enquiring about payment plans and wellness plans where the cost of routine veterinary care can be spread out over 12 monthly payments.

“Costs of veterinary care has escalated more than the inflation with drugs and wages increasing around 30 per cent over the past 12 months. Insurance is often perceived as not being worth it, but it is a good way of being able to pay for the big expense items should they arise.”

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