Monday, June 30, 2008

Great healthcare in Canada...for your dog

Both vets and doctors have more to offer than they have ever had before, but doctors don't have the resources. Says Michael McKee, "The veterinary industry looks for business and caters to a market that wants to be looked after. Me? I spend most of my time actively deflecting as much as I can." Brian Day diagnoses the problem in part as a symptom of how Canada's ministries of health fund our hospitals. Rather than having hospitals seek new patients with better care, and expanding in response to greater demand, Canadian hospitals are funded with fixed yearly budgets. "The money does not follow the patient the way it does in the animal health system," says Day. "If you go to a veterinary hospital, you're bringing revenue to the hospital. If you go to a hospital in Calgary, you are using up the block funding that it gets each year."


But the point is, they can if they want to. Anyone who has watched a loved one limping for a year before they get a knee operation, or has seen an aging relative languish in hospital, knows what a helpless feeling it is. With pets, people are free to spend their money — and even if the animal can't be cured, they know that everything that could be done was done. Says Goodridge, "At least pet owners get peace of mind." It's hard to accept that when it comes to our human loved ones, Canadians can't always get the same.