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Doggy MRIs: Pampered pets receive state of the art health care

When a pet gets sick, many owners will pay almost anything to be sure he gets better.

Fluffy and Fido tug at an owner’s heart. So we buy the highest quality pet food or a special formula depending on if he’s young or old or too chubby. Or, for the more holistic-minded, an owner might opt for an organic, vitamin-enriched dog or cat food.

And when a pet gets sick, many owners will pay almost anything to be sure he gets better, including chemotherapy for cancer, a kidney transplant or hip replacement surgery.

Humans have ancient relations with their animal companions. Burial evidence of cats as pets dates back over 8,000 years and for dogs about half that long. These early pets provided their masters with both companionship and survival skills such as hunting assistance, according to experts.

Over the years, as domesticated cats and dogs became increasingly docile, the pet-human relationship evolved. And while an animal’s survival instincts may have been compromised along the way – how many of our pets could actually support themselves in the wild? – there are some perks.

Today, with pets considered more like four-footed people, owners are laying out big bucks for such pet-pampering services as styling salons, doggie day camps, and massage therapy.

And modern pets are also reaping the benefits of human technological advances with more animals receiving medical treatments such as chemotherapy, organ transplants, radiation, CAT scans, MRIs, laser surgery, root canals and even braces.

And in the case of MRIs, “your dog or cat can get an MRI faster than us as humans,” Randy Valpy of Petplan Insurance told the Toronto Star.

According to the report, these increasingly advanced health care options for animals come at no small expense. A dog or cat can receive state of the art imaging, for example, for about $1,000 and radiation therapy for as much as $5,000. And if you want an ultrasound, prepare to pay from $400 to $800.

The Ontario Veterinary College’s Teaching Hospital at Guelph offers radiation therapy for dogs and cats with cancer. Treatment of an animal ranges from $500 to $5,000.

Depending on the severity of the condition, an owner can pay tens of thousands of dollars for a pet’s veterinary care. And as a result, more people are considering pet insurance as a means of protecting their animals – and their wallets.

“We’ve seen invoices that run from $10,000 to $30,000 to treat a variety of conditions,” said Peter Weinstein, medical director for Veterinary Pet Insurance in California. The company sold more than 360,000 pet insurance policies in 2005, vs. 157,000 in 2000.

And about 1,100 U.S. companies offer VPI’s pet insurance as an employee benefit, he added.
Depending on the plan, pet insurance in Canada can cost from $9.95 to $90 a month, with the average cost somewhere around $30. Many insurance companies, including Petplan, Petcare, and PC Financial Pet Insurance, offer potential customers online quotes for a range of coverage plans.

Sophisticated medical treatments and surgical techniques have undoubtedly boasted the life span of pets. “Thirty years ago in the U.S. the average age of a dog was 4 years; the average age of a cat was 3 years,” Bonnie Beaver, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association told CNN.

Today, the average lifespan of a dog is between eight and 12 years, says Beaver.

Pet owners report ‘unconditional love’ as the main reason for Fido and Fluffy-fretting— to the tune of billions of dollars in North America each year.

Article By: Cynthia Ross Cravit – 50Plus.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 2, 2009 - Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. [...] Doggy MRI’s: pampered pets receive state of the art health care Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)PETA Loves Canadian Health Care. Say Meow or Bow Wow. [...]

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