Los Angeles — When a vet told Nancy Gates that her dog Arabella had heart problems, needed surgery and it would cost $500, she had no choice but to put her pet down.
“It was pretty straightforward because I had four young children to feed. The vet said surgery was my only option. I did not want my dog to suffer,” she said.
Gates, 41, of Cotati, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, made that decision 11 years ago but said nothing has changed. She still couldn’t afford high-priced health care for her current pets, an 11-year-old cat, Cocoa, and a 9-year-old golden retriever Sadie. And Gates isn’t alone.
Money is a consideration for the majority of people when dealing with the cost of health care for animals, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.
While most pet owners, 62 percent, would likely get vet care if the bill was $500, the percentage drops below half when the cost hits $1,000. The number drops to 35 percent if the cost is $2,000 and to 22 percent if it reaches $5,000.
Only at the $500 level are dog owners (74 percent) more likely than cat owners (46 percent) to say they would likely seek treatment. In the higher price ranges, the two are about equally likely to seek vet care.