How to keep your pet out of the veterinary ER

March 23, 2011

Dr. Tony Johnson takes the stage in this week’s Pet Connection newspaper feature:

I’m the guy you don’t want to meet in the middle of the night. No, I am not a mugger, a thief or a cat burglar — I am an emergency veterinarian.

Most of my interactions with pet owners end with something like “Nice to meet you, thanks for helping Fluffy, and I hope I never see you again.” Not because I lack social skills or have a crummy bedside manner (I hope not, anyway), but because emergency room visits are rarely pleasant for man or beast.

Avoiding me — at least professionally — is the best option, but you need to be prepared in any case.

By far the biggest issue in emergency medicine is cost. Medical expenses for emergency room visits can run into the thousands of dollars. (The highest veterinary bill I have ever seen was around $22,000.) That the cost is a tiny fraction of a similar visit to the human ER isn’t that consoling when you’re having to scramble for the money.

Pet insurance for pets is now a reality, and there are several companies competing for your business. Even with insurance, you should set aside money every month for the unexpected. Insurance typically refunds a portion of your bill, which means you still have to pay up front at the ER.

Here’s what else you need to know

And from Dr. Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker, reassurance that your dog will love you even if you’re nuts:

Your dog listens to you whether you’re crazy or not — and doesn’t care either way. According to research published in the journal Animal Behavior, researchers could find no evidence that dogs can tell the difference between rational and irrational acts, showing that they don’t understand if human behaviors make sense or not, and don’t notice if a person is acting crazy. But they listen anyway, following behavior cues regardless of whether they make sense.

All this and more in this week’s Pet Connection!

Filed under: behavior and training,pets, connected — Pet Connection Staff @ 9:05 am

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