Saturday 6 July 2024

Woman still in debt after £8,000 vet bill for bulldog

You don't want to be in this position where you are torn between the love of your companion animal, in this case a bulldog, and the heavy price that you have to pay with almost no end to forking out money, to fix a very expensive pet medical problem. This is what happens: veterinarians know that cat and dog owners will be very likely to fork out thousands of pounds for medical issues because of their tight emotional connection with their pets. The alternative is to euthanise the companion animal which is unthinkable to many people.

Vet bills are increasing and some dog breeds are inherently prone to chronic illness due to irresponsible breeding practices. Image: MikeB

In this instance, Roy the bulldog fell ill in September. His owner, Tracey Higgins immediately took him to the vet and after several trips the final bill has come to almost £8,200. All from savings and credit cards.

She lives in East London with her husband Kevin. Roy is seven years old. He began to vomit and lost weight quickly.

Initial tests cost £180 but the bill snowballed.

The veterinarian recommended that Roy stay for three nights in an animal hospital where more tests, scans and medications were administered. He was discharged from that hospital with a £3,500 bill at which point Tracey began to panic about the escalating costs. There was no guarantee he would get better but she said that: "We couldn't not have him treated. We are responsible for him and love him."

A part of Roy's small intestine was severely inflamed and over the next three months there were further tests and medications administered costing £3500 and after that further veterinary visits and tests racked up another £995.

As I said pet owners have no choice but to go down this black hole of veterinary costs sometimes with no end in sight.

In the UK, the price of veterinary care and other pet services has jumped about 40% since 2020 according to the Office for National Statistics.

It's a huge dilemma and a great worry for many pet owners. Tracey Higgins had cancelled her pet insurance which cost £250 a month. That alone is a very heavy expense. It covered Roy and the couple's other dog Bonnie. She cancel the insurance policy six months before Roy fell ill.

The couple had regularly saved into an account for vet bills which had accrued £2,000 when Roy needed treatment. They raided other savings and used credit cards to pay the bill.

Higgins said that she was "shocked by the size of the bills and concerned by the ongoing treatment as the cost just kept building up. It was very expensive and we still have some of that debt hanging over us. But we are relieved he has come through it. In some respects it was money well spent because we still have Roy."

The Competition and Markets Authority are investigating the £2 billion vet industry because there are concerns about dramatically increased costs as mentioned and that pet owners are overpaying for medicines and being kept in the dark about the cost of treatments.

In addition, it's probably fair to say that the bulldog is an inherently unhealthy animal or perhaps I'm being unfair but the French bulldog for instance, is, in my estimation, the most unhealthy companion animal you can adopt. You can read about that by clicking on this link.

It's a double whammy effect with purebred dogs becoming less healthy because of inbreeding and veterinary bills becoming more expensive because they been bought up by big conglomerates who are trying to squeeze more profit out of what were independent veterinarians focusing on and prioritising medical health treatment rather than making a profit.

Source: The Times July 6th 2024 (main story).


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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