There are 14 million pets in Canada. Pet owners spend $6.3B to care for their pets. That is $800M more than Canadians spend on child care. Doggie daycare is $500 per month. The rise in spending on vet care from 1997 to 2009 was 90%.
To both encourage and meet the needs of pets and pet owners, VCA Animal Hospitals, a division of VCA Antech, operates over 600 vet hospitals in 41 states and 3 Canadian Provinces.
Of these hospitals, 83 provide specialty care. VCA employs more than 3,000 veterinarians, of whom over 400 are board-certified specialists. VCA’s brand new 42,000 sq. ft. facility is the West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. The large, new 3-level hospital encompasses 9 state-of-the-art equipped surgery suites (including pituitary tumor surgery facilities), 16 examination rooms, 2 procedure rooms, MRI and CT equipment, a medical oncology suite (including our bone marrow transplant center), a radiation oncology suite housing a rare linear accelerator, a large physical therapy center including hydrotherapy treatment, in-house pharmacy and laboratory, and parking for over 230 vehicles, among many other features.
With the opening of the new hospital, VCA is the largest and most technologically advanced small-animal hospital in the western United States, providing the most comprehensive medical and surgical care in virtually all veterinary specialties. VCA offers a full complement of specialty services in virtually all areas of medical specialties, including Behavior, Cardiology, Integrative Medicine, Internal Medicine, Medical and Radiation Oncology, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Rehabilitation, and Surgery, ensuring that every patient (i.e. pet ) receives the highest quality veterinary care available anywhere. The hospital also provides emergency and critical care for pets, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This unleashing of the costs of pet care is not just a US phenomenon. A contact told me that his neighbours in Toronto had spent almost $40,000 on chemotherapy for their standard poodle. It was unfortunate when the owner of the poodle got very sick and was transferred to the wrong type of hospital in the US. This was at great expense to her partner. It was ironic that the pet owner’s mother would not spend a thin dime for advocacy or case management to help her daughter after the daughter had spent $40,000 for care for her pet.
An “efficient marketplace” seems to meet the varied needs of pets and pet owners with some encouragement from high quality specialty suppliers such as VCA.