Vet Bills Force Families to Euthanize Pets

Tough times make care harder to justify; few have animal insurance
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2009 12:05 PM CDT
Taking Fido to the vet is a luxury some can't afford.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – The recession is having some tragic consequences for family pets. Experts say owners are delaying care, opting out of pricey treatments, and putting down pets they’d otherwise save, MSNBC reports. One shelter has seen a 20% jump in admittances. “They come straight from the vet and say, ‘I can’t afford to treat my animal,’” its president says. “‘The vet said he should be euthanized, and I can’t even afford that.’”

Less than 3% of owners have health insurance for their furry companions. Without it, almost all vets require half the estimated bill for treatment up front, which can be impossible should a pet need emergency care. “There’s the optimal option, then a less positive option,” says a worried veterinarian. “Then there’s the option where you just put them on fluids and hope for the best.”