Today's post is a chapter from my book, "Pet Health Insurance: A Veterinarian's Perspective." It is the shortest chapter in the book, but has a link to audio clips that add perspective to the topic. You can obtain the book here or the kindle version here.
The topic: economic euthanasia - an unfortunate consequence of not knowing the reality of costs often required to save a seriously injured or ill pet and/or not having a plan in place to pay for the costs should they occur.
Putting An End To Economic Euthanasia
While grocery shopping with his wife, Dr. Jack Stephens had a life-changing encounter that put him on a completely different career path. Turning down an aisle, he met one of his clients and her young daughter. Upon greeting, the client asked her daughter, “Honey, you remember Dr. Stephens don’t you?” Her reply was, “Yes, he’s the man who killed my dog.”
Some weeks previously Dr. Stephens euthanized their pet, at the mother’s insistence, because the family was unwilling or unable to spend the necessary funds to diagnose and treat the seriously ill pet. It seemed the daughter blamed him for the death of her beloved pet.
Shocked at the response from his client’s daughter, Dr. Stephens resolved then and there to do something about “economic euthanasia” embarking on lifelong quest to provide pet owners with a way to always be able to afford their pet’s care.
He founded and operated the first successful pet insurance company in the United States (VPI) in 1982. He left the company in 2004, and in 2005 founded another pet insurance company, Pets Best. He retired as President of the company in 2014 but remains active in the industry.
Whenever you are faced with the decision about whether to go forward with treatment when your pet has a serious illness, you want the decision to be based on prognosis for recover and quality of life rather than finances.
Listen to these veterinarians/staff talk about why they are advocates of pet insurance as one of the ways to deal with the problem of economic euthanasia.
To sum up, a pet can die just as surely from economic euthanasia as succumbing to any other serious life-threatening accident or illness. Therefore, make sure you have a plan in place to prevent that from happening and perhaps consider the role pet insurance might play in that plan.
Not to leave you hanging - here is an article from my perspective as a veterinarian on how to plan for your pet's healthcare expenses.