Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending, Ctd

by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

My wife works in the veterinary field, and from listening to her discuss her work for the last five years, I can tell you that Conor Clarke is missing a few details in tracking vet spending.  First, there is veterinary insurance as well as wellness plans for routine procedures / shots, etc.  The primary reason for this is the move away from dogs and other animals as utilitarian (a barn dog or hunting dog) to the concept of animal as family member.  People have insurance and regard their pets as members of the family, and therefore needing insurance as well.  Price structuring for different plans is different, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.

Malpractice liability DOES happen fairly frequently in an age of boutique breeds that cost more than some people’s cars.  If Miss Princess dies in surgery, you bet your sweet bippy that there’s going to be a lawsuit because Miss Princess cost $8,500 and won four Best in Shows.  

The main thrust of Conor Clarke’s point is very true.  However, veterinary practices use very similar (if not identical) technologies as human medicine (X – Rays, ultrasounds, etc.) and the overall cost of these technologies in human practices increasing would lead to an increase in vet practices as well.  The two parallel more than one would think, but probably not as much as the charts suggest.