ASK THE VET: How Can I Be Thrifty With My Veterinary Dollars?
Answered by MHS Veterinarian Dr. Michael Redmer, D.V.M.

Q: How can I be thrifty with my veterinary dollars while still ensuring that my pets are getting the care they need to stay healthy?

A: With the current economic conditions, many of us are looking for ways to stretch our dollars. In times like these, we also realize even more how much our beloved companion animals bring to our lives. And, of course, we always do our best to give back to them for their unconditional love.

Without question, an annual well-pet exam is a worthwhile investment, allowing you and your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s medical and preventative health needs. Recognizing a medical problem early and taking a proactive role in preventive health measures can save money and lives. Regular vaccinations, as well as parasite prevention and treatment, also are essential. Early sterilization will prevent many serious medical issues, as well as help the fight against pet overpopulation.

If your pet exhibits significant changes in activity, appetite or water consumption, don’t ignore these warning signs of potential serious underlying medical problems. While medical insurance can make sense for some of our pets, make sure you understand what is covered under the policy before you sign up. Insurance policies don’t cover existing conditions. As an alternative, you might try setting aside some money each month for a pet emergency fund.

Make certain that your dog or cat has an ID tag and is microchipped. The modest investment will greatly improve your chances of being quickly reunited if your pet is ever lost or separated from you - something that happens more often than one might expect.

For those who will be adding pets to their families this spring, getting more value for your dollars is increasingly important. MHS offers tremendous “adoption value” by including sterilization surgery, ageappropriate vaccinations, and more in our dog and cat adoption packages - and what better way to ensure your new pet gets off to a healthy start!

Michael Redmer, D.V.M., has been a staff veterinarian at the Michigan Humane Society Berman Center for Animal Care in Westland for more than 10 years.

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