By Julie CiaramellaAVMA Communications Division
(This article is available as a free download from Smashwords in a number of formats compatible with e-readers.)
Everyone is trying to save money these days, including pet owners. But in an effort to cut back on costs, you may hear advice that could end up compromising your pet’s health. Regardless of what you read, providing your pet with regular preventive care is the key to a healthy and long life for your pet. And an investment in preventive healthcare can reduce your long-term pet healthcare costs. How? Preventive care does just what its name suggests – it can prevent diseases that can put your pet’s life in jeopardy and be costly to treat. Regular exams also often catch budding health issues that can become bigger problems if left untreated, saving you hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars as a result and possibly even saving the life of your pet.First Things FirstWe recognize that cost is a major concern for pet owners, but selecting a veterinarian involves more than just price-shopping. There are several factors to consider when you choose a veterinarian, such as convenient office hours, how the veterinarian and staff treat you and your pet, and what type of payment options and plans they offer. Cost is often a factor, but it may not be the most important factor to consider. While some veterinary medical services may be offered at very low rates, remember that they also may not include comprehensive services. Make sure you compare “apples to apples,” so you know that the cost estimates you’re getting are for the same services. For example, one estimate might be for surgery alone, while another higher-cost estimate also includes some pre-operative bloodwork and post-operative pain relief; and when you add these services to the lower-cost estimate, the prices are more comparable than you originally thought. And what about “Dr. Google?” More and more, people are resorting to the Internet to find information and guidance on health issues – for both themselves and their pets. Sorting out reliable from unreliable information online can be challenging, and the Internet is certainly not a reliable substitute for hands-on evaluation by your veterinarian or physician. Don’t get us wrong. Not all information on the Internet is wrong or misguided. But the AVMA urges you to be very cautious when relying on online information for decisions regarding your own health or your pet’s health. And steer clear of anyone offering online diagnoses or treatment recommendations, either for free or for a fee. They may be bogus, not to mention illegal.