So, you think vet care is ex­pen­sive?

Kapi-Mana News - - PETS - With Dr Ian Schraa

The cost of ve­teri­nary care is some­times thought to be ex­pen­sive.

Cer­tainly, com­pared to the tax-funded, ACC-sub­sidised hu­man health­care sys­tem it may seem so. But I can as­sure you that you won’t have the wait­ing times for surgery with ve­teri­nary care and you will get pretty much ev­ery­thing done in the same place, by peo­ple you know.

Com­pared to hu­man health­care, ve­teri­nary surgery and medicine is very good value for money. As a vet, I am of course bi­ased. How­ever, I do know the ac­tual costs re­quired to de­liver this care. These costs are not much dif­fer­ent than in hu­man health­care.

The medicines used in ve­teri­nary care ac­tu­ally cost more than those same ones used by doc­tors as we do not have Phar­mac. Even the equiv­a­lent ve­teri­nary medicines, which by law we are obliged to use, cost more be­cause of the smaller mar­ket.

When we per­form a sur­gi­cal op­er­a­tion on a 70kg dog, we can gen­er­ally do it for about one­tenth of the price a sim­i­lar op­er­a­tion would cost to do on a hu­man of the same size. And we do not give any less pain re­lief – pos­si­bly more be­cause our pa­tients can’t tell us ex­actly how much it hurts so we make sure they are well cov­ered.

I had a frac­ture re­paired in the United States last year that I broke while on hol­i­day. In­surance cov­ered it but it was $23,000. I didn’t even get to stay the night in hos­pi­tal for that! I could have fixed a sim­i­lar frac­ture my­self in a dog for about $2000.

Much of the equip­ment we use is the same as in hu­man hos­pi­tals.

From the anaes­thetic ma­chines, to the mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment, sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments, x-rays and ul­tra­sound ma­chines. Plus we have den­tal ma­chines, lab ma­chines, IV pumps and much more. Our prac­tice has nearly $200,000 of ma­chines and equip­ment.

We, like hu­man health­care pro­fes­sion­als, are highly trained. Af­ter five years of in­ten­sive train­ing most ve­teri­nary grad­u­ates fin­ish their de­gree cour­ses with large debts. As very skilled in­di­vid­u­als with huge life and death re­spon­si­bil­i­ties they should be paid well for car­ing for the four-legged mem­bers of your fam­ily.

Given the costs of medicines, the equip­ment we use and the pay we need to give our ve­teri­nary staff ve­teri­nary care is efficient, high qual­ity and ex­cel­lent value for money.

Dr Ian Schraa is an ex­pe­ri­enced ve­teri­nar­ian and the owner of Rap­paw Ve­teri­nary Care.

An­i­mal surgery: Dr Schraa says ve­teri­nary surgery is value for money, com­pared to health­care for hu­man be­ings, with all the lat­est equip­ment used on an­i­mals.

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