5 of the most expensive pet health problems

About 68 percent of American families own a pet, reports the American Pet Products Association. Not surprisingly, dogs and cats are the most popular pets. Most pet owners recognize that these special family members need routine care, and sometimes emergency medical attention, just as humans do. Here are five of the most expensive pet health problems you may encounter:

  1. Intervertebral disc disease – This occurs when the cushioning discs in the spine start to bulge or burst and press on the pets’ nerves in the spinal column. If this happens, your pet may experience some paralysis, nerve damage and pain. Depending on the severity of the problem, your veterinarian may recommend steroids, anti-inflammatory medications or emergency surgery. The average treatment cost is $3,282.
  2. Stomach torsion/bloat – Known as gastric dilation and volvulus syndrome, this occurs when the animal’s stomach dilates, rotates or twists around. It can cause abdominal pressure, create cardiovascular problems, and affect how nutrients are absorbed. It requires emergency surgery and hospitalization. Treatment costs can average $2,500.
  3. Ruptured bile duct – Bile is a fluid that helps pets digest food. Their liver secretes bile which the bile duct carries to the gallbladder and small intestine. These functions must work together. Otherwise, your pet can develop gallstones and experience inflammation that can cause the bile duct to rupture. Treatment options can range from prescription medications to surgery. The average cost of treatment is $2,245.
  4. Laryngeal paralysis – The larynx, located at the top of the throat, is the passageway for air and food. If the larynx becomes paralyzed, it may not open fully, and affect breathing and swallowing. Surgery may be required to correct the problem. The average treatment cost is $2,042.
  5. Ingestion of foreign objects – Many animals eat foreign objects, such as dirt, rocks, soap or bone chunks. These objects can damage the gastrointestinal tract and cause vomiting, loose stools, or diarrhea. Veterinarians recommend picking up clothing and toys, disposing of waste promptly, and not feeding your pet human food. Depending on the severity of the problem, the average treatment cost is $1,967.

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