Pet Care Costs Increase With Advances

The skyrocketing cost of health care continues to be an issue for lots of Americans. But for many people the problem goes even further. They have to pay for the health care of their pets as well. Bill Stamps reports on how new breakthroughs in medicine are driving up the prices of pet care.

Right off the 59 freeway near Lakewood Church there’s a neurology clinic where you can have all sorts of procedures done, including back surgery. But this isn’t for your grandma or someone with a sports injury. This high tech clinic is for pets only.

(Sound of dog barking)

Neurologist Samantha Kegg says technology has improved so much they are now treating dogs for strokes.

"Back when I was in vet school in the late 90’s, we were taught that dogs don’t have strokes and that’s just because we didn’t do MRI’s on dogs back then. And now just in the last 10-15 years MRI’s have become more available for veterinary practice, we diagnose strokes on a regular basis."

Houston veterinarian Marc Hayes has worked with animals for more than thirty years and he too has seen the big changes.

"With the technology that has come about, with the advances in veterinary medicine, the knowledge base is just increasing exponentially."

But these medical breakthroughs come at a price. The doctors say there is some pet insurance available but most people don’t have it. This is Kegg.

"Certainly a lot of what is happening is out of folks pockets and I think the remarkable fact is that even as we’re struggling with health care as a nation for ourselves, people want to be able to do these things for their animals."

Doctor Hayes agrees and says most pet owners will make sacrifices to care for their little ones.

"My clients have found a way to do it. They may back off on something else, but their pets are going to come first.  They are family members. Yes it’s expensive. Not everyone can afford this facility but they need to have the option of doing it. And if they want to its available to them."

The clinic recently performed surgery on a Pearland police dog that was having back problems. The procedure was a success and Nancy, as she’s called, should be back on the streets soon. They say in the past, she would have probably been put to sleep.