CBC Marketplace – Barking Mad

Open up a dialogue about your pet's care with your veterinarian & get some answers you're looking for.

Open up a dialogue about your pet’s care with your veterinarian & get some answers you’re looking for.

CBC Marketplace underwent an undercover operation to find out how veterinarian care varied from clinic to clinic within the Toronto area. The episode will be airing tonight; Friday, October 4 for the Marketplace season premiere, 8:00 pm (8:30 in Newfoundland & Labrador).

Dr. Morris Samson and Dr. Jonathan Mitelman weighed in on the not yet seen episode, as Kingston Road Animal Hospital was part of the undercover story.  Click to read their opinion on the world of veterinarian medicine.

I would love to know what your veterinarian experience has been with your furbabies?

I also welcome your feedback on a couple related posts “Your Today” has blogged about: The Cost of Pet Health / Beware of Over-vaccinating Your Dog / Do You Really Need Pet Insurance?

Help! My dog eats cat feces ….

This is what I love about dogs.  They really have no shame! 

This is not an unusual behavior and I’ve dealt with it many times. 

Any change in appetite could indicate a medical problem, such as a nutritional deficiency, so a visit to your veterinarian for a physical examination, and possibly blood work, would be prudent.  However, I have rarely seen this indicate a medical problem; it is most likely a behavioral issue. 

This could have developed for any number of behavioral reasons.  Most likely, he could have discovered it recently and just likes the taste.  It’s possible he used to be afraid of the cat and after becoming friends, he is now brave enough to enter the cat’s private territory.  Some other household disruption could have incited it, such as the litter box becoming accessible, a spat occurred between them, or he stopped receiving other treats.  You can think about whether these things have happened, but if they haven’t, it’s probably just a new taste that he has come to enjoy.

It is best to restrict the behavior.  Cat feces has bacteria that could cause digestive upset and it can also carry parasites, the most common being one called giardia, that can transfer between them.

This is all very preventable with just a little strategic effort; so here are a couple ideas.  Restrict access by moving the litter box.  For example, install a cat entrance flap in the door leading to a utility room or place the box in a tight spot like behind a large appliance.  Cover the liter box with a hood that the dog can’t fit through.  Place the box on an elevated level that the cat can jump to but the dog can’t.  If you can’t do this, you can get serious and use taste aversion.  You could spray a few pieces of cat stool with bitter apply spray, but this is risky because the cat could be turned off by the odor and stop using the litter box.   Hopefully one of these plans could work for you.

Good luck and in the meantime, I recommend avoiding any face licks from the dog!!

Dr. Clayton Greenway B. Sc DVM

Westhill Animal Clinic – (416) 282-8516- www.westhillvet.com 

The Cost of Pet Health

Pet Care
 
 
Pet owners often underestimate the cost of pet care, and more so when a medical or emergency situation arises.
When the average Canadian sets out on the path of adding a furry friend to their family, they think the typical food, vaccinations, spay or neuter, grooming should be a handful of dollars of an investment at best per year.
 
 
In actuality:

Your Dog: The life expectancy of a dog varies by breed, but in North America you can expect your dog to be your companion on average of about 13 years. Based on Ontario Veterinary Medical Association calculations, owning a 40-pound dog for 13 years will cost more than $28,700.

Your Cat: Like dogs, cats’ life spans vary. The average house cat lives for 13 to 17 years. Using OVMA’s statistics, a 10-pound cat that lives to 15-years-old will cost more than $24,000 in vet bills, food and other costs.

Dr. Mitelman and Dr. Samson of Kingston Road Animal Hospital/Vets Toronto have both seen many clients in their years of practice struggling with emotionally charged financial decisions on moving forward with treatments with the actual high costs of quality medical care for their pets. Being business partners and running not only a daytime clinic, but a 24 hour emergency clinic, that is fully equipped as a hospital setting, they have seen the struggle owners face when their pet becomes ill and have been targets to client feedback:
 

“Vets are only in it to take my money, they don’t care about my pet”

 
“Why do you charge so much for x-ray’s and ultra sounds, my human Doctor doesn’t charge me like this?”
 
“Run expensive tests?  You’re a Doctor, just tell me what’s wrong with my pet, without running tests” 
 
 
Pet owners need to understand that when it comes to pet medical care, especially emergency care it can’t be compared to human care.  We are fortunate as Canadians to have an outstanding health care system, where we are rarely aware of the costs of MRI’s, Ultra Sounds, X-Ray’s, even blood work.  While human medical costs are covered under our health care system; including hospital overhead, staff, facilities, equipment and maintenance, our pets don’t have that luxury, unless you’ve stayed a step ahead and have purchased pet medical insurance.

It’s also crucial to remember the next time you want to condemn a Veterinarian about the cost of your pets medical care, like human doctors; Veterinarians have invested a lifetime of schooling, as well as facility and equipment expense out of pocket to care for your pets that aren’t funded by any government agencies.

A vet clinic is also like any other for profit business, and must maintain a positive bottom line. Sound harsh to you?  Maybe, but it’s a reality.  Like any other business, vets have bills to pay; clinic mortgage or rent, electricity, gas, equipment (a single x-ray machine alone can range from 40,000 – 100,000), staff to pay (staff in the vet world are typically severely underpaid vs. the quality of work they assist with.  A typical vet tech is paid between 10.00 and 18.00 per hour and carries very similar responsibilities that a human nurse would have, yet nurses range in pay scale from 20.00 to 35.00 per hour).  Why aren’t vet technicians paid more in the industry?  Clinics would have to raise their prices to afford to pay them more.

The Vets must be taking home all the money right?  Wrong!  A Veterinarian can have a salary ranging anywhere from 50,000 per year to upwards of 110,000 depending on years of experience and expertise.  What do comparable professions generate for salary:

Family Doctor: 75,000 – 250,000
Dentist: 60,000 – 200,000
Surgeon: 70,000 – 350,000
Oncologist: 100,000 – 300,000

 
Let’s add to that that Veterinarians are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than the general person on the street and twice as likely than others in the health industry according to a recent British study and backed up by studies in the USA, Australia and Europe.  Women Veterinarians, and women in general, are at a far higher risk to anxiety and depression, and studies have proven that female Veterinarians are even at a higher rate of suicide than male Veterinarians. Add to that a 14+ hour work day, grief counselling appointment after appointment to clients emotionally distraught over their pets, taking lives daily as clients can not afford treatment, and a severe lack of family and work balance.  A sad reality of the Veterinarian profession.

The next time you want to debate the high cost of your pet’s bill, we urge you to keep some of these facts in mind.  It’s also suggested you be proactive in your pet’s health and consider pet insurance, or put aside an average of 30.00 a month in case of a pet emergency, and establish a relationship with your Veterinarian (though clinics rarely offer payment plans, this may be an option if you know your Vet well through regular visits), speak to family and friends before an emergency and know when to draw the line when it comes to life saving costs for your pet so they can support you through this difficult decision if needed.

In summary, everyone sympathizes with those facing a high vet bill. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if Veterinarians could just save every single life that walked through their door without a concern over ability to pay and not a care in the world about their business bottom line?  Sadly that’s not the world we live in, so please keep all of this in mind the next time you want to scream murder from every rooftop about the cost of your animal care.

Beware of over vaccinating your dog

KJ Mullins-Toronto: What would you think if your doctor demanded that you have a yellow fever vaccine if you lived in Toronto and were not about to travel? Most likely you would question the doctor and refuse the shot. Many pet owners however allow their vet to give their dogs vaccines that may not be needed without question.

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Vaccines are a part of human life. Our children get their ‘shots’ during childhood to prevent serious diseases. For human children there is a clear scheduling of these vaccines because doctors know that once vaccinated most vaccines provide immunity for many years. We still take our children to the doctor once a year for a physical, regardless if they need a vaccine or not.

The same is true for our pet ‘children’ but it has become the norm for vets to give dogs vaccines year after year regardless if their body has immunity to the virus they are being protected from. Every year pet owners take their dogs to their veterinarian for vaccinations. While certain vaccines are important, many dogs are being over vaccinated. This ‘normal’ practice can be life threatening.

Some vets and animal activists are starting to speak out against over-vaccination. The main message that is being stressed is that just because their dog doesn’t require a vaccine they still need a yearly exam.

Animal activist Denise Angus said that it’s important to be aware of “when to vaccinate your pet, how to test for vaccination levels before vaccinating for certain vaccines including  Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus and Canine Distemper Virus. Titer testing  is an important step for vets to know what vaccines are necessary and which are not for your dog.”

The size of your dog is an important factor. Smaller animals often have more side effects related to vaccines which makes it very important that if they need shots to space them out instead of having a combination shot. The concern of over vaccinating dogs does not come into play with puppies. Young dogs need those booster vaccines for their health. The concern only begins after the age of 2 or 3.

The most important advice is to have an open dialogue with your vet. Your pet’s overall health is in your hands so listen to your instincts. If your vet is not open to listen to your thoughts or concerns it’s a warning flag that it is time to find a doctor that will.

http://newz4u.net/archives/44500

What are your thoughts on pet vaccinations?

Do you really need pet insurance?

Does your Fido need pet insurance?

Does your Fido need pet insurance?

We’ve heard the story — the family pet gets sick or in an accident and suddenly the owner is rushing to the emergency animal hospital. The good news is that veterinary care has come a long way in recent years. The bad news is that the cost has risen with the new diagnostic tools, drugs and treatment options. There are over 14 million cats and dogs, all of which will get sick or hurt at some point in their lives. But despite the advances in veterinary care and the rising cost of treatment, fewer than 140,000 are covered by pet health insurance.

Glenn Williams, President and CEO of Western Financial Insurance Company, the largest and oldest Canadian insurance company to focus solely on pet health insurance, believes that number could grow significantly as more Canadians recognize the obvious benefits of insuring their animals.

“Many European countries have had pet insurance for decades and the penetration rates are way above those in North America,” he says. “In Sweden for example, about 55 per cent of dog and cat owners have pet insurance. In the U.K., it’s about 25 per cent.”

So why is the popularity of pet health insurance so far behind in Canada the U.K.? According to Williams, a big part of the reason is product awareness. In Britain, pet insurance has been offered since the 1940s and is widely advertised by the major insurance companies. In North America, the first pet insurance policy was issued in 1982 to cover television’s canine star, Lassie.

Even when there is a substantial amount saved, what is the likelihood it will remain untouched if your car breaks down or you have other big expenses. Williams says that pet health insurance is generally about $10 per week, but given the cost of veterinary care, it is a good investment. Premiums can vary greatly depending on the following:

• Type of pet: Dogs cost more than cats because they have more health problems and are more likely to get into accidents.

• The size and breed of the dog: Bigger dogs generally have more health problems, and some breeds are susceptible to specific ailments, such as hip problems in German Shepherds and other large breeds.

• Location: Veterinarians and animal hospitals in downtown areas of large cities like Toronto, Montreal and Calgary generally charge much more than those in smaller or rural communities. Not surprisingly, the premiums reflect the higher costs.

• Coverages: These vary greatly and include accidents, illness, tests and medication, and even preventive and dental care. Obviously the more extensive the coverage, the higher the premium

What do you think about pet insurance for your feline of canine friend?

Want a 30 day FREE trial of pet insurance from Trupanion? In the Toronto area? Contact VetsToronto to obtain your complimentary certificate.

Trupanion is Canada’s fastest growing provider of pet insurance for dogs and cats. Founded in 1999 as Vetinsurance in Vancouver, B.C., founder and CEO Darryl Rawlings renamed the company Trupanion as he expanded internationally. Today, Trupanion has the honour of being North America’s #1 rated pet insurance company[1].

With recent advancements in animal healthcare, veterinarians across Canada are now able to offer treatments for health conditions that were previously unavailable to most pets. These medical advancements allow pet owners the ability to provide the very best care for their beloved pets. But the cost of care often exceeds the family budget. Luckily, Trupanion provides affordable life-long coverage for cats and dogs who enroll between the ages of eight weeks and 14 years of age.