UAE | Society

Taxing vet visits raise hackles of pet owners

Microchipping costs about Dh200 and periodic check-ups can strain tight budgets

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 February 19, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News
  • Dr Yalda Motavali Khiyavi, head veterinarian and CEO at Lucky Veterinary Clinic located in Al Barsha 1, examines a Boxer in the examination room. The average cost of keeping a pet dog is around Dh1,800 which includes having it vaccinated, microchipped, neutered and registered.

Dubai: Taking care of pets is no longer a walk in the park for many residents, with dog owners especially complaining that veterinary centres are charging exhorbitant rates for their services — adding a further burden to their monthly expenses.

Laila Sahawneh, who owns an English pitbull, takes her dog — which is all of one year and seven months — to the vet three times a year. She says she shells out Dh900 for each consultation.

“I find the cost of vets expensive in the UAE compared to countries in Europe, where my other dog is located. Apart from the high cost of vaccinations, the standard of living for a pet here is also higher. Vets promote all these dry food brands that are unnecessary and expensive; however, we as dog owners do not have many options to use as substitutes,” she said.

Sarah B, 27, from Australia owns a five year-old pooch. She takes her pet to the vet about three times a year, and is charged an average total of around Dh1,500.

“I try to take as much care as I can for my dog because I do not want it to get diabetes. I am quite satisfied with the services of the new vet I see now as he is very reasonable and does not charge or push for unnecessary procedures,” she said.

“However, from previous bad experiences [I can say that], some of the vets in Dubai will try and generate as much money as they can even if it is not in the pet’s best interest,” said Sarah, adding that she buys a 10-kg bag of high-grade pet food for Dh90, which lasts a whole month.

Dr Yalda Motavali Khiyavi, head veterinarian and chief executive of Lucky Veterinary Clinic in Dubai, recommends regular check-ups for dogs as some diseases can show up out of the blue.

“There are some basic signs that you should look out for in your pets, which is when they start bumping into objects, and if there is a difference in faeces. Usually, in the first stages of Polyuria and Polydipsia, the dog drinks too much water and urinates more than normal as well. But not all these symptoms lead up to serious diseases, so it is important to get a professional opinion,” Dr Yalda said.

All kinds of pets also require de-worming, ideally every three months, experts say. This is also the best time to conduct a full examination, and a blood test has to be carried out every six months.

“The common type of illnesses found among dogs in the UAE is blindness and diabetes, and in each case of diabetes, such as Mellitus Type 1 and Type 2, Gestational Diabetes and Diabetese Insipidus, each one of these need different medications or sometimes surgeries,” said Dr Yalda said.

“Considering the geographic location of this region, I usually see lots of skin infections in pets because of the heat, as well as ear infections. And most of the internal diseases involved kidneys and the pancreas,” she added.

To merely get started with taking a dog for a pet, the average cost is in the region of Dh1,800, which includes having it vaccinated, microchipped, neutered and registered.

The lowest price for microchipping a dog is Dh200, while paying for a consultation on vaccinations costs an average of Dh125.

Gulf News
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