Economic woes can take toll on pet health

Lawton_The economic woes are taking a toll on people who are trying to save a buck here and there, and while their owners cut corners, pets' needs can be cut back too.  But, it's important to note that routine shots and preventative care for your furry friends will save you money in the long-run.

Between food and vet bill costs, it can run up to an average of $600 a year to have a pet, and when the going gets tough, people sometimes choose to cut those vet bills and the dogs and cats suffer. Comanche County Veterinarian Dr. Larry Chambers said, "As the cost of living goes up and the economy crunch begins to hit us, you know, pet care does become a concern." Many pets are missing needed treatments, and ignoring some of those shots can prove deadly. "The basic vaccine of course is to have a rabies shot." Napoleon and Oliver are getting theirs, along with distemper and bordatella. But that's not all pet owners have to cover. "Heart worms are important [to treat]," says Chambers

Preventing heart worms, fleas and ticks cost another $20 a month. "Do not disregard that because those parasites actually remove blood and plasma and serum and food that animals require to have to live." And there are the ticks. "If you get too many on there with heat involved, serious conditions can occur." Chambers says you really need to consider the cost when purchasing a pet. "Your heart says I want it right now, but your pocketbook may not be able to handle what your heart wants." He says many people don't realize that this preventative health care will save money in the long run as a medical emergency at 3 a.m. on the weekend is more expensive than keeping up with routine care.

Lawton Animal Control notes that although they are not having more animals come in to the pound, more people also are not claiming their lost animals.