Economic euthanasia: when a pet is put down due primarily to financial concerns, sometimes despite the fact that the condition would have been quite treatable.
This is nothing new to vets, but with the economy being what it is, it’s something more pet owners are considering. Here are a couple of articles published back in the spring:
Steep vet bills, sour economy doom more pets
Economic Euthanasia – Tough Choices in a Tough Economy
And here’s Jake, a cuddly, friendly and fun tabby whose life, at the grand old age of 1, was calculated by his owners to be worth less than the amount the vet would charge to treat him.
The Leslie quote below also appeared in Barbara Doduk’s blog in July, but I think it’s worth repeating here:
“A friendly long-haired tabby named Jake was taken to a vet when his owners discovered an infected wound on his hind end. When they were told it would cost $300 to repair the injury, the people instructed the vet to euthanize their 1-year-old cat. The vet’s assistant pleaded with the vet to call RAPS instead. The shelter paid Jake’s bill and he went to live at the sanctuary, soon becoming a favorite for volunteers and visitors alike.”
$300?? After hearing tales of complicated procedures running up vet bills in the thousands or having a good friend emotionally flagellate herself for weeks for even thinking about discontinuing a series of frustratingly inconclusive tests on her ailing elderly cat due to the mounting costs, this amount seems awfully low and the treatment awfully straightforward.
Could Jake’s owners really not scrape together the 300? Is it responsible to take a pet into your home if money is so tight that there’s no room for unforeseen expenses? Perhaps both people had just lost their jobs. It’s possible. In that case, is euthanasia in fact more humane than simply choosing not to treat a sick or injured animal? Or is Jake’s story just another example of the “they’re just pets” attitude encountered by Dolittler blogger Dr. Patty Khuly?