Posts for: February, 2014
According to the Humane Society of the United States, World Spay Day is an annual campaign dedicated to putting the "spotlight on spay/neuter as a proven means of saving the lives of companion animals, feral and stray cat colonies, and street dogs who may otherwise be euthanized in a shelter or killed on the street.'
We here at Morena Pet Hospital fully support this day and its mission & encourage all pet lovers out there to join us in being part of the solution. Spay and neuter is one of the primary solutions to avoid the pet overpopulation epidemic and one way we help to give back to our community is by being a part of the County of San Diego’s Reduced Spay/Neuter Referral program, offering low cost spays/neuters and also low cost vaccinations:http://sddac.com/docs/vetinfo.pdf
We regularly work with local animal shelters, rescues, and pet organizations throughout San Diego community in order to ensure the proper health of our local community pets and to promote responsible adoptions! Some of the events you may have seen us at in the past include: The San Diego Humane Society’s Walk For Animals, Doggie Street Festival Adoption Event, Petco 5k9 Del Mar Walk/Run, Petco Sports Arena Adoption Fair, Humane Society’s Winter Wonderland Adoption Event, the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade, and Balboa Barks.
How can you help?
- Spay and neuter your pets.
- Sponsor a spay/neuter pet through your local animal shelter
- Volunteer your time or donate food, items, and/or money to local animal shelters or rescue group. Even the smallest items or funds can help, especially given the number of homeless pets (E.g. Some pet rescue groups lines their cages with newspapers or towels and ask individuals/businesses to donate any unwanted newspaper clippings or pet items).
- Consider adopting or fostering a pet from your shelter or rescue group.
- If you find a lost pet or see an injured animal on the street, contact your local animal shelter or animal control.
- If you are active on social media sites (E.g. Facebook, Twitter) share posts about pet adoption events & those pets looking for their forever homes.
Together we can help make a difference!
Welcome to World Spay Day, The Humane Society of the United States, 2014, https://worldspayday.org/
In our last blog we explained some of the costs behind today's advanced veterinary care. We understand that you care about your pet and want them to get the care they need, but simply may not be able to afford all of our recommendations.
To help combat these financial dilemmas and give your pet the best optimal care possible, we will share some tips on how pet owners can afford today’s treatments.
Research Hereditary Diseases
Did you know that protecting yourself from paying too much for vet care starts BEFORE you own your pet? This may seem surprising, but research has shown that certain breeds of animals are predisposed to hereditary conditions and diseases. So the best way to prepare yourself for the financial responsibility of pet ownership is to anticipate costs and problems associated with your pet’s breed!
Once you found your furry, feathered, or scaled companion, you should take them in for a new adoption exam. This allows you to get to know your veterinarian and the services they offer. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your veterinarian. We here at Morena Pet Hospital are very conscious to rising costs of veterinary care and make every effort to ensure that all fees are fair and responsible. We are here to work with you to find a happy medium between the best results for your beloved pet and cost savings.
Tip #1: Contact your local animal shelter for a recommendation of veterinarians (like us!) in your area that provide discounted or complimentary exams for newly adopted shelter or rescue pets and whether you are able to take advantage of any low-cost spay/neuter programs.
Tip #2: Remember to ALWAYS ask for a written estimate of any services to be performed, a common practice held here at Morena Pet Hospital. If costs are greater than estimated, ask that you be notified prior for authorization.
In our experience, preventative medicine is the easiest, least expensive, and most important way to keep your pet healthy. Regular physical exams can help detect problems in their early stages, allowing us to manage the health issue before they become serious illnesses requiring prolonged treatment.
This is why we work with you to develop an individual protocol based on your pet’s current lifestage and lifestyle. Since each pet is unique, your veterinarian will work with you to develop an individual assessment of what kind of routine tests and/or vaccines best suits your pet’s needs. Preventive care includes routine tests such as blood-work, fecal tests, X-rays, parasite preventives, vaccines, dental cleanings, and more.
In our previous blog, What You Should Know Before Filling Your Prescription At An Online Pharmacy we explained that in order for you to protect yourself and your pets, you must research any online pharmacies that you find medications “cheaper”. Many times you are getting a lower price for pet medicine that is counterfeit, outdated, mislabeled, incorrectly formulated, or improperly made or stored. As such, these medicines may not contain the actual drug, may not work as well due to age or being stored in conditions that were too hot, cold, or humid, and may not have the proper directions for use.
Tip #3: If you find a cheaper medication online, please bring in a copy of the online pharmacy invoice along with shipping costs so that we may price match the medication. We feel much more comfortable knowing our clients are receiving the medication as it was intended from the manufacturer and properly labeled by our staff. You also have the option of asking for a written prescription to be price shopped and filled elsewhere.
Proper diet is an important part of your pet's health. Should your pet need a new diet due to health concerns (allergies, sensitive stomach, disease management, etc.) or you are just looking for a healthy alternative to your current brand, your veterinarian is the best source for offering individual consultations and nutritional plans to help keep your pet healthy.
Tip #3: One way to save on pet food is to make sure you are not wasting food by over-feeding your pet. Follow the advice of the food manufacturer and ask your vet for proper feeding guidelines. Skip the unhealthy snacks, treats, and fancy doggie products. If you must offer treats, consider one that will help in preventative care for your pet (E.g. dental chews).
Home care is an essential part of keeping your pet healthy, especially in terms of proper nutrition, exercise, and routine care. You will find that a little extra care in the short run will lead to important health benefits down the road. Some examples include brushing your pet’s teeth, keeping them well groomed, trimming their nails, etc.
Pet Toys vs. TLC
We love our pets and want them to be happy, so it makes sense that we would look for ways to spoil them rotten with the latest and greatest of pet products. However, the most important things your pet needs and wants is TIME spent with you. Sure those toys are great, but your pet would much rather spend time cuddling, exercising, and playing with you than those over-priced toys.
Tip #4: Consider making your own toys or stick to the simple treasures! You’d be surprised by the number of creative how-to guides on the internet today. PetLvr.com is just one of many that actually tells you how to go about making your own toys!
We have heard it all: “Pet insurance is just not worth it!" or “Why should I pay for something I never use?". But the fact is pet insurance allows owners to fund the unexpected and is becoming increasingly popular in a large part due to veterinary advancements and the rising costs of treatment. AAHA explains that many pet owners are choosing pet health insurance as a way to plan for and cover expensive veterinary bills. You don't really see the investment in this until your pet has a more serious problem, but when you need it, you will be glad you have it.
Tip #5: It is recommended to insure pets as soon as possible to get the most out of the insurance because many companies will not cover a claim if the condition is pre-existing. Ask us about Trupanion's 30-day certificate program which provides pet owners the chance to try their insurance without any expense.
Budgeting, Financing, & Savings, Oh My!
When creating a household budget, make sure to include your pet in your budget. Figure out the costs over a year associated with your pet's care and deposit an amount each paycheck into a savings account and a little extra when you can in case of emergencies.
We know that you love your pets as much as we love ours. As a service to our clients, we also offer Care Credit, the nation’s leading client payment plan. With Care Credit, you may finance up to 100% of your pets treatment, and avoiding paying interest by making your minimum monthly payments and paying the full amount due by the end of the promotional period. Once you are approved for the Care Credit line of credit for veterinary expenses, you will never have to reapply, as long as you keep your account in good standing and can use the same account for other medical and health-care expenses such as dental, beauty, or wellness treatments.
Tip #6: Ensure that you pay your balance by the end of your promotional periods, or you will have to pay back interest!
Be sure to sign up to receive your veterinarian’s communications (E.g. Pet Portal, Social Media, Website, Blogs, etc.). Not only will this allow you to manage your pet’s health records, but it will also allow you to receive your veterinarian’s communications about practice updates, special promotions, and important health news.
Tip #7: Different email or change of address? Make sure to keep your contact information current at your veterinary office so you can receive our communications for upcoming specials and discounts. For instance, did you receive word about our 20% OFF Spring Dental Special running now until 3/31/14?
Pet Assistance Organizations
Several foundations and nonprofit organizations offer assistance to pet owners who cannot afford medical treatment for their dog or cat. These online grant foundations generally require that you complete an application, include documentation of estimated expenses, and obtain a veterinary signature or endorsement.
We have provided a list of financial assistance organizations on our website’s resource page to help you in your search; you may also contact our office for more information.
Tip #8: Consider searching for breed-specific, disease specific, or service animal assistance organizations. There are also organizations that cater to helping senior citizens, veterans, and the disabled.
Consider trying to raise money yourself. Several online fundraising programs are available today, such as Indiegogo and Fundable in which you can customize your page and set a fundraising goal for your pet’s care. Other small ways to raise funds are hosting a garage sale, selling those unwanted items just taking up space in your home on E-bay, or getting a part-time job, such as baby-sitting or pet-sitting.
Have any cost saving tips for pet care that we may have missed? Please share what works for you when saving money on pet care and supplies.
Financial Assistance, Pets Are Wonderful Support, 2012, http://www.pawssf.org/page.aspx?pid=655
Meeting the Cost of Veterinary Care, AAHA, September 2013, http://www.healthypet.com/blog/post/Meeting-the-cost-of-veterinary-care.aspx
The Importance of Pet Veterinary Insurance, Trupanion, 2014, http://trupanion.com/pet-insurance/importance-of-pet-veterinary-insurance
Veterinary Care Without the Bite, Consumers Union of U.S.,Inc, July 2003. http://www.consumerreports.org/Pets/
The Why Behind Veterinary Prices
ABC’s 20/20 recently aired a story depicting veterinarians as “upselling” their services, calling into question the recommendations and ethical practices of veterinarians. We feel that this recent segment greatly misses the mark when explaining the increased standard of care of today’s veterinary medicine and the costs associated with it.
Value is the underlying consideration that drives consumer decisions. We have all heard the phrase, ‘what you pay for is what you get’. This is no foreign concept when it comes to veterinary care either, but what often is not explained to pet parents are the costs behind veterinary care. We will shed light first-hand on some of the reasoning behind these costs from the horse's mouth--aka from a veterinary perspective.
The majority of veterinarians are not gold-diggers.
Firstly, truth be told, veterinarians (including all of those here at Morena Pet Hospital) did not enter into this profession to get ahead in life. Despite the economic hardship placed on many veterinarians from the start (student loans, foregone earnings associated with being in veterinary school, lower than average incomes compared to other healthcare industries, start-up costs of opening a practice, overhead expenses, etc.), the human-animal bond that are experienced even in our personal lives trumps those costs, which is what leads pet lovers to choose the veterinary profession. Drs. Potter, Steib, and Zito did so out of their love for both pets and people. The majority of veterinary professionals live in a modest home, work long hours (on their feet) to help animals all to live paycheck to paycheck on a steady income.
Veterinary Medicine is costly to everyone.
It is disheartening when we hear such terms as “upselling” or “sticker shock” when associated with veterinary practices. We are no strangers to veterinary costs ourselves. A veterinary hospital, like all businesses, has expected costs (E.g. rent, utilities, tax, and insurance costs), not to mention the operational costs associated with maintaining a hospital facility with modern and up-to-date technologies and equipment, laboratory fees, food and medications costs, and salaries to provide a highly trained support staff.
In addition, the veterinary industry has changed dramatically over the years, now offering technological advances (once available only for humans) that have become readily available to pets too. Items such as Cat Scans, MRIs, organ transplants, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and even stem cell therapy are amongst the current services and treatments that are now options for our furry companions. However, with advancement in technology, also comes cost.
Some may be surprised to know that we at Morena Pet Hospital have experienced these costs on a personal level. Although we work in the industry, it does not exempt us from making these same choices for our pets at home. Many of our staff’s pets have had to undergo these same procedures (and costs) including kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, and orthopedic surgery to name just a few.
Routine veterinary services are necessary.
According to the AVMA, veterinarians are seeing an alarming increase in preventable conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and dental disease in pets. This is why veterinary medicine has shifted from responsive therapy (bringing pets in for care after clinical signs) to a more preventative care approach through vaccinations, spaying and neutering, dental cleanings, as well as wellness panels to test for pre-existing conditions and parasites, so one can treat the illnesses prior to symptoms. Preventative medicine is the easiest, least expensive, and most important way to keep your pet healthy. Early detection ensures prompt action that may solve the problem before serious consequences occur.
We understand and agree that veterinary costs are rising too quickly, but that does not lead us to “make a quick buck” selling unnecessary shots, tests, and procedures to pet owners as ABC’s 20/20 segment lead audience viewers to believe. In fact, if you asked any veterinary team member what they dislike the most about our industry, making decisions based on finances instead of medical need is likely at the top of the list! If a recommendation is made, it is based on your pet’s individual lifestage and lifestyle and we are doing so because we want what is best for your pet. As fellow animal lovers, we are committed to ensuring the highest level of support, information and service to give your companion the best possible care for a lifetime. We never base our recommendations on our seeing dollar signs and make every effort to ensure that all fees are fair and responsible.
Stay tuned for our next blog featuring tips for affording pet care...
"ABC's Veterinary Care Segment Lacks 20/20 Clarity", AVMA.org, November 25, 2013, http://atwork.avma.org/2013/11/25/abc-veterinary-care-segment-lacks-2020-clarity/.
"Is Your Veterinarian Being Honest With You", ABC 20/20, November 22, 2013, http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/veterinarian-honest-20987714.
"Meeting the Costs of Veterinary Care", AAHA, September 30, 2013, http://www.healthypet.com/blog/post/Meeting-the-cost-of-veterinary-care.aspx.