Pet health care costs rising

Dog healthcare

Americans treat their pets as family.  From fluffy beds to health care, pets are treated as humans.  And as the heath care costs for human beings rise, so do they for pets.

The US healthcare system has been rendered inefficient in terms of services and cost by many.  This is often blamed on the federal health insurance benefits that prevent customers from making decisions about costs and reimbursements, and give no reason to the industry to make its more efficient.

A recent study found that the situation was pretty much the same in the pet industry, with a couple of big differences:  Only about 1 percent of all pets have health insurance, and pet healthcare is not subject to strict government regulation.  But similarities did exist:

  • Rising expenses: spending on pet purchases, medical supplies and veterinary services show patterns similar to human health-care spending from 1996 to 2013 (US Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns) – rose 60 percent for pet health care, and 50 percent for people.

  • Growth in sector: the growth in the supply of physicians and veterinarians has been very significant for the years 1996 to 2013.  Medical service centers have also grown at similar rates.

  • Spike in spending in the last month: in the study, pets cited for comparison were 23 dogs that died of lymphoma at one California pet hospital between 2011 and 2014.  The humans were 125 Medicare patients who were diagnosed with lymphoma and died in December 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011.  In the last month of their life, healthcare spending for both increased – for humans it was more than double of regular monthly spending, and for dogs it was nearly 3.5 times more.

The results draw striking parallels between the two systems, although one has much less government regulation.  This suggests that the increase in costs cannot alone be attributed to insurance benefits and government regulation.  Perhaps, it is time to check lifestyles, and make sure that both the pet and owners are keeping healthy through a balanced diet, exercise, and regular check ups.  Preventive measures should take care of rising bills till the government and other establishments have a better plan.