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Will ObamaCare Increase Your Pet’s Vet Bills? We Have the Answer…

The Blaze:  For all of the debate and conversation about Obamacare’s potential impact on Americans’ wallets — and the economy on the whole — few likely saw coming the controversial health care law’s effect on family pets.

In an apparent “unintended consequence,” as CBS News calls it, the cost of medical equipment in veterinarian offices is going up, with some pet doctors reportedly already announcing that they plan to pass the burden on to consumers.

The reason? Obamacare imposes a new tax that will raise the cost of much-needed supplies.

Obamacare May Cause Shocking Rise in Your Pets Health Care Bills | 2.3 Percent Federal Excise Tax

Credit: AP

Many vets may encounter an increase in medical devices and equipment as a result of a provision in the health care law that places a 2.3 percent federal excise tax on various health technologies. This tax, implemented to help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare), was never intended to impact pets.

CBS explains why the tax issue is having an impact on veterinarians:

How does this work? Medical devices used only on animals are exempt. However, items including IV pumps, sterile scalpels and anesthesia equipment, which are medical devices that have a dual use, meaning they can be used on people and animals, will be taxed. […]

The American Veterinary Medical Association represents 82,000 vets. At this point, they don’t know how much this new tax will indirectly cost them. The organizations members are waiting to hear from more device makers.

See WFOR-TV for more: HERE

In Dec. 2012, the conservative Heritage Foundation was already sounding the alarm on this issue, writing that pet costs would likely increase for consumers. At the time, the organization wrote the following on its blog, “The Foundry”:

The device tax is expected to raise costs for consumers. A recent survey of 181 manufacturers found that a 52.5 percent majority plan to “pass along some or all of the increased cost [of the tax] to our consumers.” Among North American manufacturers, the portion who said they would raise prices was an even higher 58 percent.

“Across the board there is bigger inclination among firms to raise prices and pass on costs to customers as a way to deal with the US tax,” the survey found.

Pet owners already spend more than $12 billion on veterinary care annually. Obamacare may make it even more expensive to care for your pet.

It’s currently unclear how much, exactly, the new tax will cost vets. But, considering these revelations, it’s likely many pet owners will be preparing to brace themselves for additional health care expenses.

March 14, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pets, Political Change | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How a Dog Can Lose 10 Pounds in One Day

Have you ever heard of a dog losing 10 pounds in one day? I saw it happen the other day. Let me tell you about Buddy.

Buddy is a wonderful, loving 12-year-old black lab that has had a long onset of growing tumors. The tumors are very soft and feel "fatty". They were "lipomas".

A lipoma is a benign fatty tumor usually composed of mature fat cells. They are usually soft, well defined, and just under the skin. Lipomas are variable in size and shape and may occur just about anywhere, although they are commonly found on the ventral (under) surfaces of the chest and abdomen.

Lipomas are very common in dogs, and less common in cats. All breeds may be affected, but they are most common in older animals, especially older female dogs.

Because Buddy was older, his owners thought they would just see how it went – hoping they grew slowly so they didn’t have to do anything with them. 

Buddy continued to thrive and unfortunately so did the tumors (they continued to grow).  The tumors became so BIG that they were making Buddy uncomfortable.

Here is a photo of Buddy before the surgery:

Buddy before

Excision (removal) of a lipoma should be considered if it is growing rapidly, causing discomfort, or if it is interfering with the mobility or lifestyle of the animal.

So… Buddy’s owners went in search of a vet to remove the tumors safely.

If surgery is required to remove a lipoma, preoperative blood work (complete blood count and profile) are generally recommended. Blood work was done and Buddy was examined and it was determined that it was safe for him to have the surgery to remove the tumors.  They were big and hurting him when he tried to lie down.

Here is a photo of Buddy after the surgery:

Buddy after
This is where the good part comes in. Within an hour, Buddy lost 9 lbs. 10 ounces!

Wow! So it isn’t the easy way – but that is how a dog loses 10 pounds in one day.

The final bill was over $1,000. Thank goodness for pet insurance. You never know when something is going to come up – either an emergency or a long-standing problem like Buddy had. When you have pet insurance, cost won’t be an obstacle to providing the medical care your pet needs.

After a lipoma has been removed, watch the incision for any swelling, redness or discharge. Make sure your pet is not licking or chewing at the incision line. Sutures are generally removed in 7 to 10 days.

There is no way to prevent the occurrence of lipomas. Once they are noted, they should be closely monitored. Lipomas should not be allowed to become so large that they are difficult to remove, and they should not interfere with function.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon

P.S. If your dog needed expensive medical care, would you be able to provide it? If not, pet insurance is a great solution. For about a dollar a day, a pet insurance policy can provide quality medical care – and a lot of peace of mind. To find out more, go to petinsurance.com. Nine of ten veterinarians recommend VPI pet insurance.

h/t to Pet Care’s Dog Crazy Newsletter and Kim Peters

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Koda, the little horse who could

Koda was born to two normal-size miniature horses at a farm.

Koda was born to two normal-size miniature horses at a farm. (Yarrambat Veterinary Hospital)

It is not uncommon for workplaces to have pets. Perhaps a fish or a bird, or at most a dog or cat roaming around the waiting room of a vet’s clinic.

But the Yarrambat Veterinary Hospital, north of Melbourne, has its very own horse who trots around the surgery, nibbling rubbish in the bins and hanging off whoever he can.

But this horse is different from most.

At just 35 kilograms and 59 centimeters tall, 12-month-old Koda is said to be Australia’s smallest horse.

He was born the size of a cat and he is still smaller than some dogs, but what he lacks in size he makes up for with his gigantic personality.

Dr Andy Lynch, who runs the clinic, says Koda – a miniature horse with dwarfism – is basking in his newfound celebrity.

“He absolutely loves the attention from people, he’s just soaking it up,” he told ABC News Online.

“Everywhere he goes he’s instantly recognized and he loves it.”

Australia’s Mr Ed has a jam-packed schedule, with plenty of bookings from local schools and nursing homes as well as a few TV appearances and photo shoots here and there.

“He just had a visit from an elderly people’s home,” Dr Lynch said.

“A van came to visit and he walked through the van and they loved him.

“He’s got a unique nature for a horse of his age. Normal-sized horses at 12 months can just be plain dangerous, but Koda is so trusting, he’s fantastic.

“His very tiny stature isn’t apparent to him, he just regards himself just like any other horse.”

Health issues

But it’s not all fun and games for lively little Koda, who has spent much of his short life immobilized and sadly faces an onslaught of ailments.

In fact when Dr Lynch first met Koda, he recommended that Koda be put down because of the severity of his health problems.

“He had very contorted, buckly limbs that went in all different directions when he tried to stand,” Dr Lynch said.

“And his face was a little bit misshapen, with quite a dished nose and his nostrils were almost like a pig’s snout.”

But luckily vet nurse Karen Stephenson, 23, saw hope in the little guy and persevered.

“I fell in love with him straight away,” she told ABC News Online.

“Provided he wasn’t going to go through too much suffering, I wanted to do whatever I could to give him a chance.”

Koda, who was born to two normal-size miniature horses at a farm, moved to Ms Stephenson’s nearby Kinglake property, where he first came across normal-size horses.

“All the larger horses were hesitant at first, but now he’s one of them but just the size of a dog,” she said.

Costly treatment

But Koda’s need for extensive treatment means he has had to relocate to a small stable at the Yarrambat clinic for now.

So far he has had two surgeries because of joint problems. At one stage his leg was in a cast and he faces more operations because his skull is too small for his teeth.

But “buoyant” Koda doesn’t let the surgeries get him down, Dr Lynch says.

“He’s very brave and he responds very well to pain relief,” he said.

The medical costs have so far mounted to $10,000 and Dr Lynch expects Koda will rack up at a bill of at least $30,000 more.

“But he’s well worth it,” Dr Lynch said.

Future for Koda

And even though Koda’s not expected to live a completely normal horse life, there is hope he will be around for at least a decade more.

“We would be happy with 10 years, bearing in mind a normal horse lives to 25 years,” Dr Lynch said.

“We’d be thrilled with 20 years.”

Dr Lynch says Koda will probably live at the Yarrambat clinic for a few more months at least, but then he will move back to Kinglake to “play with his other horse friends” again.

But this popular little horse isn’t pining for his equine mates too much; he gets on with humans just as well.

“He just loves attention from everyone and he knows he’s loved,” Dr Lynch said.

“In the absence of other horses, we have become his herd and he responds to us like we’re horses.”

And Ms Stephenson even has an idea to cater for “cheeky” Koda’s social needs and growing fame.

“He needs to go on tour around Australia,” she said.

By News Online’s Sarah Collerton

Posted August 13, 2009 07:00:00
Updated August 13, 2009 07:16:00

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August 13, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, Success Stories, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment