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Pets put to sleep due to lack of insurance

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Sainsbury’s Bank has highlighted the number of pet owners that have put their dogs and cats to sleep because they can’t afford vet bills.  

A survey from the bank showed 51% of vets have put down a pet cat or dog over the past five years because the owners couldn’t afford to treat them. In addition, 80% of vets have had an uninsured dog or cat owner decline a course of treatment because they couldn’t afford it. In total, 927,000 dogs and 822,000 cats were put down for this reason between 2003 and 2008.

Sainsbury’s has identified two reasons for this, firstly that vets fees have risen by around 12% per year. Also, 55% of cats and dogs are not insured, so owners cannot rely on an insurance policy to cover all or part of a vet’s bill.

Neal Devine, Sainsbury’s pet insurance manager, said: “Our findings are very disturbing but also frustrating because in many cases if the owners had taken out good quality pet insurance they would have been able to treat their pet without any problems.

“The current credit crunch could compound this situation even further, with as many as one million pet owners looking to reduce their pet insurance cover or do away with it all together. This is a false economy because when finances become tighter, it is even more important to have pet insurance so that you can pay any unexpected vet bills.”

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