Unhappy with having to pay high veterinary fees to take care of their belovedpets, Chinese pet owners are calling for the government to implement stricterregulations in the pet industry to avoid unreasonable charges. The call comesat a time when the pet economy has been booming around the world amid theCOVID-19 epidemic.

Data about the pet industry that was posted by National Business Daily onChina’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Wednesday shocked Chinese netizens. One keyfigure is that the revenue of China’s pet industry will exceed 2.4 trillionyuan ($US36.7 billion) by the end of 2020, while people in the US spent arecord-high $99 billion on all things of their pets, ranging from food toveterinary care.

These impressive numbers sparked discussion about the high costs of keepingpets, including veterinary fees. Some netizens commented that it can actuallycost more to take their pets to the vet than to see a doctor, which struck achord among pet owners.

“My kitten’s medical fees are always a burden for me,” Xiao Run, a 26-year-oldBeijing resident who has an American Shorthair, told the Global Times onWednesday, admitting that the expensive veterinarian fees sometimes put adamper on the happiness of owning an adorable kitten.

Xiao said that one time her kitten caught a cold and lost its appetite. Unableto bear the sight of her kitten looking so uncomfortable she took it to thevet for an examination and to get some medicine.

“To treat the disease, I spent more than 1,500 yuan ($AU300). Whenever I havea cold, my medical fees have never gone over 200 yuan. My kitten does not havemedical insurance, so I have to take on all the costs,” she complained.

Looking at Dazhong Dianping, a widely used crowd-sourced review platform forlocal businesses in China, one Beijing pet hospital has a variety ofdepartments, including orthopedics, ophthalmology and dermatology departmentsto treat various diseases that pets can come down with.

According to the prices offered on the platform, a tooth wash at the hospitalcosts about 528 yuan ($AU106) while a body examination goes for 479yuan($AU96).

A Shanghai resident surnamed Li who is also in his mid-20s is the owner of agolden retriever. He said that treatments for larger pets often cost more thanthose for smaller pets like cats.

“Once my dog was urinating blood,so I took him to the hospital. When I leftthe hospital, 4,000 yuan stayed behind,” he noted.

These high fees have caused pet owners to long for greater regulations on theprices of these medical services.

Huang Qihao, manager of the Chongyisheng Pet Hospital, told the Xinhua NewsAgency that pet healthcare is purely commercial and does not have social orcommercial medical insurance to pay for it.

“At present, there is no special regulatory department to conduct unifiedsupervision on the pricing of pet medical treatment, and the standard is stillset by the hospital operators themselves,” Huang said, explaining why ownersfeel stressed when facing pet healthcare.

There are also some pet owners who don’t care about the costs, as their onlyconcern is getting their beloved pets the best treatment they can.

An owner of three cats who spent more than 10,000 yuan on one cat to treat itsFeline Panleukopenia said she was grateful that the money could save herlittle love.

Source: Global Pets

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