$25K in vet bills: Owners reveal startling cost of family pets
A Queensland couple have spent more than $25,000 to diagnose and save the life of their pet Bernese mountain dog which was eventually found to have a vitamin deficiency.
It's an enormous amount of money, but Vicky and Aaron Meyers say it was worth it - and they're not alone.
A Brisbane vet told the Sunday Mail pet owners were more willing than ever to spend whatever it takes to save their furry friends.
Dr. Leigh Hanlon from the Samford Valley Vet Hospital said it's because pets had become for some, their closest connection.
The Meyers adopted Harley after he became too big for his previous owners, but they noticed issues with his health right away.
The now six-year-old spent his first six months in his new home hiding in the couple's shower, riddled with anxiety.
He began to show other symptoms of being unwell and was sick for two years straight.
The Meyers said they were spending so much money at one point they lost count - but they wouldn't stop until they got an answer.
Supplement shots, polyp surgery, chiropractic appointments - you name it, they tried it.
"The lengths we went to save our big bog is crazy," said Mr Meyers.
But $25,000 later, Harley was finally diagnosed as being vitamin B12 deficient.
But the Meyers said it was worth it.
"He's an amazing dog and super special to us," said Mrs Meyers.
Jill Seymour is also no stranger to spending money on her pets - and a lot of it.
A Frenchie fanatic, Ms Seymour owns seven French Bulldogs, and a total of ten dogs.
Her Frenchies - Clover, Maple, Lily, Violet, Astro, Oliver, Rosie - keep her on her toes, and her wallet in overdrive.
She spends $7000 a year - just on food alone.
A visit to the vet can cost her $700 just in one day.
"I don't even want to count how much I've spent in total," she said.
She revealed that one year alone, the vet bill exceeded $25,000.
"I reckon I own about half of the veterinary practice I go to," she said.
Jake Wallwork's English staffy, Stella, is only a year old, but she has already had two surgeries, including a hip replacement.
It cost Mr Wallwork more than $12,000 from his own pocket.
Thankfully, Mr Wallwork had pet insurance, and received $5000 back. "I was really grateful to get that money as I got to give her another chance at life," he said.
But it's not just dogs attracting large vet bills.
Amy Cullen spent more than $30,000 to get her horse Rella healthy in time to be part of her wedding.
Rella battled five eye lacerations, torn digital and flexor tendons, an ethmoid haematoma in her sinus, torn hamstrings,and, that was all before she got so sick that she went into kidney and liver failure.
"She's a walking vet bill," she said. "She's lucky I love her."
Meanwhile, Caitlin Anderson splashed out $5000 to save the life of her ragdoll cat, Frankie, who went into kidney failure at just two years old.
She said she loved her so much she would have paid anything.
"We would have paid anything to keep our princess alive."
Dr Hanlon said COVID-19 and lockdown had caused a big spike in pet ownership.
She said people were spending more was that vet technology had drastically improved and more procedures could be safely done.
"Thirty years ago, say you had a dog that you were willing to spend the money on, treatment options would be limited and you would have to tell people that was no more that we can do," she said.
"Nowadays, we have more and more specialists and services that can be provided and people want them."
Dr. Hanlon said COVID and lockdown also parked a spike in pet ownership.
"It has always been human nature to want to love, but it has been hyper focused and heightened this last year particularly."
"They could represent a child or grandparent you haven't had contact with during COVID.
"That's when people started to really start to rely on their animals, and then do anything they can to keep them alive.
Originally published as $25K in vet bills: Owners reveal startling cost of family pets