KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rising inflation rates are now hitting our pets.
Veterinarians across the nation are having to charge more for animal care, as their costs go up. It’s resulting in animal owners being forced to make some tough decisions.
Prices for vet services have jumped a reported 10% over the past year, according to the Associated Press.
The costs of veterinary medicines, staffing and maintaining a business are driving expenses up, too.
Dr. Cynthia Goldston, a veterinarian at Pet Resource Center, a facility that offers low-cost pet care, said many customers are using their services to save money.
Pet Resource Center offers discounted animal care to customers regardless of their income level. The vet practice keeps costs low by using grant money and donations from various sources.
“People come to the urgent care department all the time. They say — I only have this much money, or I was just laid off from my job,” Goldston said on Thursday.
Goldston said costs have also gone up for veterinarians to run their practices. Pet Resource Center leaders said costs for medicines and vaccines used for pets have gone up. Goldston added employee payroll and the basics of running a business have risen too, and vets are forced to pass some of those costs along to customers.
“We try to do everything we can for people to avoid them having to surrender their pet to a shelter or having to euthanize the pet,” Goldston said.
But sadly, many animal owners are forced to give up their animals.
Goldston specified that in some cases, this is a leftover effect of the pandemic, when some pet owners chose to give up their pets.
Tori Fugate, longtime spokesperson for KC Pet Project, said 40-50 new animals come in every day, and high costs for veterinary services is the leading reason it’s happening.
KC Pet Project reports that animal shelter takes in 15,000 animals every year.
“The options that we do have in Kansas City can be overwhelmed with appointments, understandably. There are areas of Kansas City where you simply don’t see a vet clinic, so for a lot of people, they can’t even access veterinary services,” Fugate said.
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Goldston said there’s also a recent downtown in veterinary graduates, as well as a higher-than-average suicide rate in her industry. Fugate said last year, KC Pet Project took in more than a thousand pets surrendered by owners who said they couldn’t afford to care for their animals anymore.