Partnership to end 'economic euthanasia' - Dr. Marty Becker

Partnership to end ‘economic euthanasia’

Thursday, Jan 2nd, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Embrace-Cowbelly 066BackgroundIntactIt’s one of the hardest thing any veterinarian will ever have to face: The grief a pet owner experiences when putting a sick or injured pet to sleep not because the pet’s condition isn’t treatable, but because that treatment is unaffordable.

Lots of things contribute to this problem, including a tough economy, but one thing I know for sure: We need a truly sustainable solution, not just random acts of charity on the part of veterinarians, animal organizations, and pet lovers — however much I applaud those efforts.

I’ve spoken to many of my own clients as well as the community members on my Facebook page, and I know a lot of them honestly believe that the problem is caused by the greed of veterinarians.

This pretty much breaks my heart, because I know firsthand that most veterinarians are struggling to stay in business at all, facing mountains of student debt and overhead that make offering too much in the way of charity incompatible with the continued existence of their practices.

But I also know that many pet owners are facing decisions about pet health care that were unthinkable when I started out in practice decades ago. Cancer treatment, state-of-the-art diagnostics, surgical advances — all these things offer life and health to pets, but can come with a big price tag.

I’ve had health insurance for my pets for many years, and I’ve long recommended it. Still, not that many of my clients have it, and what I’ve learned from my colleagues and industry data is that’s the case all over the country, not just in Idaho where I practice.

The difference in working with a client who has pet insurance for their animals is night and day. They are able to relax and listen to all the options, and make their decision based on medical considerations and the best interest of their pet, rather than their pocketbooks.

I began asking not just my clients but my friends, co-workers, team members, and colleagues about the various pet insurance plans that are available, and over and over, one name stood out: Embrace Pet Insurance.

So I reached out to them and asked if there was a way we could work together to help raise awareness of how pet insurance works, what it can do for our pets, and how it’s changed over the years.

Because Embrace is a company with a heart, they were as excited about this partnership as I was. I’ll be working with them in the months to come to find out what pet owners think, know, and think they know, about pet insurance — as well as what they want from it.

I’ll be tackling some of the myths that keep people from investigating pet insurance, and also sharing some stories of pets who are alive today because pet insurance was there to pick up a big hunk of a veterinary bill. I look forward to hearing from all of you as we work together to make economic euthanasia a thing of the past.

You can read the press release about our partnership here.