I was reading an article by Siamic on my website entitled: Benefits of Dental Radiography for Relieving Pain in Cats. There is a story about a cat, Hershey, who received cheap dental work which left him in certain pain in my view. I was shocked at the poor standard of care.
It made me think about the cost of veterinary work compared to that of doctors. Quick research told me that American vets charge $10 to $15 for a simple tooth extraction. Even ‘elevated extractions’ cost a measly $30 (I presume you add anesthetic costs, however). Dentists for people charge $150-$650 for a surgical extraction using anaesthesia. Although it appears that comparisons are difficult. Another example from the UK may help: a female dog spaying may seem pricey at £300, but the standard cost of a human hysterectomy is around £5,000 when done by a private human surgeon which puts veterinary fees into perspective.
Without overanalysing it, removing a tooth from a person costs a lot more than from a cat but cat owners often think that vets are too expensive. And dentists are cheaper than doctors. Other surgeries are considerably more expensive for humans compared to animals.
There can only be one reason why: the costs to veterinarians of veterinary work is lower than for doctor’s. That means less or cheaper equipment, lower salaries, less overheads at the clinic etc.. Salaries are fixed by the market. Vets will pay themselves what the market allows i.e. what they can get away with. The same goes for doctors but in the UK they are normally employed by the NHS which means they are not private enterprises charging what they can. And the NHS hides the cost because it is free at the point of delivery.
If the overheads are lower for vets compared to doctors it means that the standards are likely to be lower. So why are the standards lower for cats than for humans? I’d like anyone who reads this to think about that and work it out for themselves.
But the point I am making is that in a better world vets should charge the same as doctors and the standard of care should be the same while the doctors and vets should not prioritise making money but providing the best quality care. The money will come.
How many cats are left in permanent discomfort at best or pain at worst after dental surgery (or any other surgery including declawing) at the vets because of low standards of treatment? They’ll be more than you care to think about. The big weakness in the chain of events in treating animals is that they can’t tell us if they are in pain. This opens the door to poor treatments. Unscrupulous vets drive a horse and cart through it.
Reddit.com tells me that the way health insurance is set up in the USA, it can give the impression that vets are more expensive than doctors. The reverse is true.
What do you think?
SOME ARTICLES ON DENTAL CARE IN CATS: