Healthy American dog runs up a larger health care bill than a slightly sick Mexican

Mindy the Crippler recently had her annual checkup. With a year’s supply of heartworm and anti-tick meds, plus vaccines (but not rabies, since that causes dog autism (also only needed once every three years), the bill came to $594.56.

In my personal health care reform plan, I estimated the average cost of caring for a Mexican human to be $800 per year. In that average are Mexicans with severe and critical medical issues. So the cost for a healthy Mexican is presumably no higher than $300 per year. Ergo, if Mindy were to remain in perfect health (which I pray that she does), her veterinary care will correspond in price to that of a somewhat sick Mexican.

9 thoughts on “Healthy American dog runs up a larger health care bill than a slightly sick Mexican

  1. All mammals share roughly the same anatomy, so why should routine health maintenance costs be more for a human than a dog? Doesn’t a veterinarian have about the same diagnostic capabilities as a GP MD? Maybe even better if the vet can search Google’s text/image index of medical textbooks?

  2. anon: That’s true! Absent the health insurance and regulatory debacle that we have in the U.S., I think that vet and medical prices would be similar! Vets are certainly highly intelligent and skilled. See for an exploration of the question of whether it is tougher to get into vet school or med school (also note that it is super hard to get into the California Prison Academy: )

  3. Paul: If you take your car in for maintenance at $120/hour, does that mean you are “humanizing” your car? If a farmer gets routine vet care for livestock, is that an example of “humanizing” the animals that will eventually be slaughtered?

  4. Lord, for someone who claims to care how limited funds are spent you seem pretty happy to pay for treatment you dog does not need (she got vaccinated as a pup, right? do you expect her to live 80 calendar years?) and a completely pointless check-up. Having said that, there are some investments I could interest you in…

  5. I’m fine with routine care, but I have several friends and acquaintances who have gone far beyond routine. A couple of them have had diabetic cats, that required insulin and visits amounting to over $100 per month to maintain. Another had a pet with cancer to the tune of thousands, these are people who cannot afford these added expenses. Another has a dog with a heart defect that can be fixed for $15,000….. maybe. I asked one why they were going into debt for something like this, the reply: “Fifi is like my daughter, wouldn’t you do this for your daughter.”
    That’s humanizing an animal. I didn’t answer this person because they were upset enough, but my answer would have been for my daughter, in a second, for a pet, no.

  6. Federico: Mindy the Crippler needs booster vaccines periodically and the rabies booster is required by law. She needs anti-heartworm and anti-tick meds in an attempt to prevent Lyme disease, heartworm, etc. Some breeders save money by getting the vaccines themselves and sticking their dogs, but I don’t mind paying a professional.

    Paul: I said that, for the last six months of his life, I was “keeping Alex [the Samoyed] alive as a monument to my Visa card.” (he was going to the vet every two months, taking meds for joint pain, etc.) But, as with humans, I think it can be tough to know when treatment doesn’t offer a reasonable chance of a high quality of life going forward. If I were struggling financially, I would certainly make the same decision that you suggest (child over pet). But for most Americans maybe that isn’t the only choice? It could be “live in a simpler apartment” or “drive an older car”. I actually think that, on average, Americans make more rational choices regarding vet care than for human health care. There are not too many geriatric dogs that are turned into full-time patients.

  7. Philip, aside from rabies, a dog that was vaccinated as a pup and got one set of boosters does not need any more stuff done — it will not live long enough to need more. The Lyme disease and heartworms things you paid for is a well known scam.

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