The Scottish SPCA is warning new pet owners to take rising vet costs into acount

National animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA has issued a warning to new pet owners – or those thinking about getting a pet – to think about the price of vet bills.

By James Trimble
Monday, 24th May 2021, 12:33 pm

More Pet owners than ever have been calling the Scottish SPCA helpline because they cannot afford the costs of medical treatment.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “While we know Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, and for the most part people think carefully before taking on an animal, sadly lockdown has seen some people adopting or buying animals without considering the associated costs.

“Certain members of the public are happy to save up hundreds or even thousands of pounds to cover the initial outlay of buying an animal without realising that animal will need veterinary care for the rest of their life.

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Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn with Monty the Golden Labrador

“As a charity, while we do our best to assist where we can, unfortunately we just don’t have the funds or resources to help people with veterinary costs.

“We would really urge people to think carefully about the lifetime cost of owning any animal before they bring that animal in to their lives. Even young and seemingly healthy animals can fall ill or be involved in an accident leading to unexpected veterinary bills.

“We would also advise people to take out pet insurance for any animal they own to give themselves peace of mind should something happen.”

The Scottish SPCA are well aware of the costs of veterinary treatments. As Scotland’s animal charity they cared for almost 8,000 domestic animals in 2020 at their nine animal rescue and rehoming centres, many of whom would have needed extensive vet treatment and rehabilitation before being ready for re-homing.

Scottish SPCA chief veterinary officer Ian Futter with his latest furry patient

Figures from the PDSA estimate the lifetime cost of caring for a dog to be a minimum of £4600, but that figure could rise as high as over £30,000 depending on the size of the breed, how much care the animal needs and how long your dog lives.

For a cat, the minimum cost is around £12,000 but can rise as high as £24,000 if your cat lives longer than average or you need to spend more on care.

Ian Futter, Scottish SPCA chief veterinary officer, said, “Even minor operations such as dental surgery can cost over £500 for a dog or a cat. We also perform a lot of spay and neutering surgeries which cost between £150 and £350 for a dog and £80 to £150 for a cat.

“Sadly, with the popularity of brachycephalic breeds like French bulldogs and pugs, we’re now having to perform more obstructive airway disease surgery just to allow these dogs to be able to breathe. This surgery can cost anywhere in the region of £2,000 to £4,000.

“Due to the free roaming nature of outdoor cats we know they can sadly sometimes be hit by cars or involved in other accidents. Injury investigation like x-rays and blood tests cost between £100 and £1,500 and then fracture repairs cost an additional £500 to £2,000.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is for new owners to be aware of these costs and make sure they have the right level of pet insurance in place for their animal.”