Veterinary Stress – Can Pet Insurance Help?
Pet Insurance Australia takes a look at the pressures faced by veterinarians across Australia and investigate if pet insurance can help both the veterinarian and the pet owner.
“It’s no surprise, to anyone in the industry, the huge pressures our loving veterinarians feel in regard to saving pets and the costs that this can mean for pet owners,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “Particularly in this day and age when we have so many options open to families to save their animals, and the costs associated with this.”
Pet care and treatment is often an expensive process and leaves many pet owners baffled by the exact cost of diagnosis, surgery and all the specialist equipment and people that go into taking care of a sick pet.
“This can leave some families with the horrible choice of euthanising their pet or saving them,” Crighton says. “This enormous pressure can be felt across Australia by many of our veterinarians.”
Dr Jon Berkowitz, BVSc MBA and Pawssum CEO agrees that the pressure on veterinarians can be difficult.
“I think our personality types are perfectionists,” he says. “We dislike outcomes that don’t go according to plan and take it personally. In the early years I used to sleep in my clinic before 24 hour centres to monitor patients overnight. Although the patients are not ours we treat them as if they are. When money comes into it, it is difficult to ask for expensive surgery and work ups. A single person practice can also be lonely and often practice owners struggle financially.”
This type of pressure has seen numerous news articles published in relation to the amount of stress our veterinarians feel on a day-to-day basis.
So what can help?
“Having great colleagues and staff around,” Dr Berkowitz says. “Usually a few good jokes a day. Being able to spend time cuddling the patients, just looking into their trusting eyes that they know you are helping them makes a big difference. Most clients are fantastic.”
He also points out the important role pet insurance can play to not only help the animal but also allow the veterinarian to treat the pet without any of the worry of the possible financial burden to the owner.
“Insurance has made this much easier for vets as in some way we know the client is not paying the majority of the bill,” he says. “Most people have car insurance and never use it, it should be the same with pets.”
How can you reduce your vet bills?
“Rob a bank, be born wealthy, win the lottery or take out pet insurance,” Dr Berkowitz smiles. “The latter is the most obvious choice! Also, be sure to take your pets to the vet for regular health examinations early on. The earlier a vet can diagnose or catch an illness, the more likely the pet can be treated without the condition becoming overly serious to require more expensive treatment. It might seem like an unnecessary cost in the meantime but can save you a huge expense (and a pets life!) in the long run.”
Crighton also advises pet owners to understand the limitations of what their trusted veterinarian can do and have plans in place on how you will pay for your pet’s medical care before you become a pet parent.
“Understandably, pet owners get very upset when their pet is sick and in need of a very expensive treatment, particularly if they simply cannot afford the lifesaving treatment,” Crighton says. “It’s important to have plans in place to ensure you can afford the treatment of your pet if they do fall ill or experience an injury. This can be pet insurance, or a savings plan.”
“Having pet insurance gives you that peace of mind for any expensive procedure that the vets needs to do for your pet which could save their lives,” Dr Berkowitz concludes.