CVMA | Documents | Keeping Canadian Pets Healthy

Keeping Canadian Pets Healthy

October 4, 2013

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association encourages Canadian pet owners to discuss healthcare options with their veterinarian and work together to make decisions that suit their budget and are in line with the level of care the owner expects.
Just like clothing, groceries and gas, medical services can also be cheaper in the U.S. If pet owners determine saving a few dollars on a procedure is worth the investment of time required in travelling over the border, they will need to factor in additional costs such as gas, tolls, exchange rate and possibly a hotel room. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners who are thinking about cross-border shopping for veterinary services should take the following into consideration for the benefit of their pet’s health and welfare:
  • What exactly does the price include (e.g., pre-anesthetic blood work, IV fluids support, monitoring by electronic means with a registered technician present during the entire procedure, pain medications, hospitalization, follow-up visits)?
  • Will your pet be able to travel a far distance by car after a major surgery? 
  • Who will provide post-operative care? 
  • If something goes wrong, who will provide emergency care for your pet? In big cities with emergency veterinary hospitals, it may not matter, but in smaller cities, veterinarians only provide after-hours care for their own patients.
  • Are you comfortable having a complete stranger perform a procedure on your pet without having visited their facility before?
  • Does the veterinary hospital offering the cheapest price provide the type of preventive healthcare you are looking for (e.g., in house blood work available while you wait, advanced diagnostics like ultrasound, endoscopy, orthopedic surgery)?
  • Medications available in the U.S. may not be available in Canada and can be difficult to bring across the border. U.S. veterinarians legally cannot call prescriptions into Canadian pharmacies to circumvent this.
Pet owners may not recognize all the factors that must come together in order to provide the elevated level of care that they expect and deserve. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association encourages pet owners to engage their veterinarians in a discussion about healthcare options to ensure they make a well-informed decision for their pet’s medical care. Pet owners and veterinarians can work together to ensure Canadian pets stay healthy.