When my old dog, Banff, snapped his cruciate ligament in a painful, panting episode of Collie madness one Bonfire night, we thought he might never walk again. But thanks to insurance, we were able to access some very expensive veterinary help that put him back on the road for another five years.
In fact, when we visited the surgeon who was to repair Banff’s leg, we were slightly taken aback to find out that he did surgery on dogs on Thursdays, whilst the rest of the week he was operating on humans.
But is there a limit to marketising pet health? Probably not. Veterinary medicine, like human medicine, is advancing, but as there’s no NHS for animals we either pay our monthly insurance or face the prospect of huge unaffordable bills should our animals get sick.
For most, it’s not a dilemma because we love our pets and will pay to stop their suffering.
And just like the vast complex industry that’s grown up around human health, so with animal care there’s a mass of treatments, medicines and advice that exist to keep pets in good condition.
Is it over the top? Depends how we think of our pets; it seems they’re no longer in the farm yard or kennel but tucked up in a comfy, heated house interacting with the family and expecting similar care to the kids.
When Banff was at one of his regular hydro-therapy visits exercising his poor broken leg and wearing a special doggy life-jacket, I did wonder whether it had all got out of hand. But as he made a full recovery and seemed even better for the swimming in a heated tub, I brushed aside thoughts of a spoilt, disconnected society and enjoyed watching him run at full pelt again.