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You may be surprised to hear how much veterinarians shell out when it comes to their own pets. Although you could be forgiven for assuming that it’s all comped and covered, the truth is undeniably otherwise.
So have I piqued your interest in peeking behind the curtain to learn what a vet really spends?
Here’s a taste of the cumulative expenditures I’ve endured on behalf of my pets, with a special focus on my congenitally challenged (and exceptionally expensive) French Bulldog, Vincent.
Dogs: 3 (plus or minus my mom’s two, whom I tend to comp out of familial courtesy)
Cats: 5 to 10 (I foster a lot)
Chickens: 11 to 12, on average, but I’m looking to expand my flock soon (I currently source an average of six eggs a day and about 12 edible hens every three to four years)
Goats: 1 to 2 (one right now, but I tend to keep two at all times, one of which I milk)
OK, so they’re not all pets, per se, but even my production animals are kind of wonderful and petlike in their own way. And what they produce, foodwise, doesn’t begin to defray the cost of their maintenance — not when you consider the hard labor I put into them! Ever muck out a chicken coop?
Here’s more or less what I spend each and every month on the fundamentals for my lovelies.
The grand total: $520 I think that’s kind of impressive, although I have to admit that keeping 20 to 25 pets in the kind of shape I consider acceptable takes its toll — as does the pro bono work most veterinarians fail to factor into their personal pet expenses.
There’s also serious emergency work to consider. To give you a taste of what that looks like, consider that vets tend to take on (and adopt) the neediest, most messed-up animals because few people can handle the kind of care these pets require. And — truth be told — we’re suckers for a challenging case.
Consider the plight of my Vincent. Over the past six years, this puppy has been through it all.
By the way, these expenses reflect a 50 percent discount. And Vincent is not done yet. A couple of additional surgeries are likely on the way. And I predict he’ll end up in one of those K9 carts. And I didn’t even add in the $4,000 I spent on my Sophie Sue’s CTs and radiation treatments for a brain tumor (again, this is with my 50 percent discount).
All told, that's a lot of money. Still, I know plenty of die-hards pay more. And how can I blame you? After all, pets are family.
Nonetheless, it never hurts to remind those who may think veterinarians are immune to the financial stresses of pet keeping that we're susceptible to much the same — perhaps more so when you consider that we’re in a position where saying no to the needy is never easy.
To read more opinion pieces on Vetstreet, click here.
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