‘Humanisation’ of pets means owners don’t put down sick animals

Richard Marsden
Daily Mail
Owners are paying big bucks in vet treatment for their beloved pets.
Owners are paying big bucks in vet treatment for their beloved pets. Credit: Pixabay

THE ‘humanisation’ of pets has seen owners paying for costly, complex treatment rather than having animals put down, a report reveals.

Advances in veterinary medicine mean that animal health conditions that would have been addressed only through euthanasia in the past can now sometimes be treated, the research by a consumer watchdog said.

And present-day owners, who are more inclined to view their treasured pets on human terms, are willing to cover the bills.

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There are up to 38 million pets in 16 million British households, according to industry figures.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in its report that pet owners may not be as well informed as they might be about what treatments are available.

Its draft issues statement said: ‘Increased provision of more expensive, sophisticated treatments is to some extent due to the increased availability of these treatments for animals and “humanisation” of pets.

Vets have told us that it may also be driven in some cases by pressure from consumers to do as much as possible to assist their pet, particularly when they have seen successful case studies on TV programmes.’

The CMA said, in some cases, more sophisticated treatments may be appropriate. But it added underinformed consumers were being pushed into more costly options.

The Royal College of Veterinary Services’ Code of Professional Conduct says vets must provide independent and impartial advice. However, the CMA is concerned that the regulatory framework is outdated.

It is calling for pet owners to be presented with a range of treatments based on knowledge of the cost implications, potential outcomes and risks. These should range from doing nothing to a ‘fully comprehensive, risk-averse, test-and-treat programme’, it said.

The draft report, which is open for public consultation until July 30, sets out the basis for the CMA’s full investigation into the sector, which is due to take 18 months.

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