Economic strain leads to decline in pet health care


As Hunter residents face mounting financial pressures, recent research has revealed concerning trends in pet health care.

According to a survey complied by PetSure Data, more than 50% of owners are adjusting their approach to their four-legged friend’s wellbeing due to economic constraints.

Another 21.5% of pet guardians have scaled back on regular check-ups and preventive care appointments.

Additionally, nearly 13% are forgoing essential treatments for fleas, ticks and worms.

It’s a particularly worrisome trend, says the spokesperson for Pet Insurance Australia Nadia Crighton.

“The results of the latest survey underscore the profound impact of financial strain on pet health care decisions nationwide,” she said.

“Furthermore, data indicates over 20% of owners are delaying seeking veterinary care for minor issues, such as injuries or illnesses.

“This delay can escalate conditions, leading to higher costs and increased complexity of treatment when eventually addressed by a veterinarian.

“It’s important to note delayed care can also lead to unnecessary suffering for pets.

“Timely veterinary intervention is crucial in preventing minor ailments from developing into more serious and costly conditions.

“We strongly advocate for proactive pet health care.

“We’re urging owners to take charge of their beloved companion’s health by prioritising regular vet check-ups and preventive treatments.”

The Real Costs Unveiled

Adding to the financial burden are the rising costs of treating common dog ailments, which refers to the increasing prices of medications, treatments and surgeries for these health conditions.

Pet Insurance Australia data highlights the average treatment costs for some of the top dog health conditions:

Under one-year-old pups:

During puppyhood, gastrointestinal disturbances frequently occur, often sparked by ingesting unsuitable objects, sudden dietary shifts or stress induced by environmental changes.

Their developing immune systems render them more vulnerable to skin infections, which can be incited during playful exploration.

  • Gastrointestinal Disease: Average cost for treatment – $661, highest cost for treatment – $25,939
  • Skin Infection/Allergy: Average cost for treatment – $346, highest cost for treatment – $8,414
  • Ear Infection: Average cost for treatment – $330, Highest cost for treatment – $12,380

One- to-eight-year-old dogs

As dogs grow older, their inclination to ingest harmful items generally diminishes.

Nevertheless, conditions such as ear infections, skin issues and gastrointestinal problems persist into adulthood, influenced by factors like dietary sensitivities, environmental stimuli and genetic predispositions.

  • Skin Infection/Allergy: The average cost for treatment is $586, and the Highest cost is $20,622
  • Ear Infection: Average cost for treatment – $399, Highest cost for treatment – $20,654
  • Gastrointestinal Disease: Average cost for treatment – $812, Highest cost for treatment – $26,435

Dogs eight-plus years of age

As dogs enter their senior phase, they become increasingly susceptible to health ailments such as arthritis and cancer.

This heightened vulnerability arises from the cumulative impacts of aging, encompassing cellular transformations, a waning immune system and the gradual wear and tear on joints over the years.

  • Skin Infection/Allergy: Average cost for treatment – $601, highest cost for treatment – $10,596
  • Arthritis: Average cost for treatment – $692, Highest cost for treatment – $12,387
  • Cancer/Tumors: The average cost for treatment is $1,514, and the Highest cost is $37,133

“Additionally, ingesting toxins and foreign bodies poses significant risks and financial burdens for pet owners,” Ms Crighton said.

“The average costs are $1,064 without surgery and an eyewatering $41,671, on the larger scale, with surgery.

“Owners are encouraged to prioritise preventive measures, such as regular vet check-ups, pet-proofing their homes and investigating a savings fund or a pet insurance policy to help ensure their furry friends receive the care they need without undue financial strain.”

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