08. 29. 2004
Questions about High Tech Pet Care
Mary Battiata wrote a great, thought-provoking article in today's Washington Post Magazine about the ethical issues that have come up now that high tech healthcare is available for pets. While many of these new procedures are cost prohibitive for most families, people who have gone to extreme measures to save the lives of their companion animals have been ridiculed and even threatened because of their devotion. Battiata had to face some of these questions herself recently when her beloved dog Bear became ill and had surgery in his fourteenth year.
Battiata found people who would go to any lengths to save their pets, including some who had to forego their own medical treatments in order to pay for their animal's vet bills. One cat owner whose cat received a kidney transplant received hate mail when the surgery was reported on the news. Apparently those people were appalled that anyone would spend more than $20,000 on life-saving surgery for a cat. I wonder if those same people would send threatening letters to neighbors who bought $100,00 Hummers or other luxury items.
I know these are questions that can't be easily or summarily answered but I know that my dogs are part of my family and it's hard for me to understand how anyone could see their pets as "just animals".
On a happy note, Battiata's research revealed that from 1987-2000, the average life span of a dog or a cat in the US went up about a third. There's even a new equation to find out how many human years are equivalent to one year of a dog's life. You can find out your dog's new human age with this Dog Years Calculator. It's comforting, my dogs just got 11 years younger.