For many pet owners, a visit to the veterinarian can often lead to sticker shock as even routine tests and treatments can be costly.
Treating common ailments such as cruciate joint injuries in dogs can cost around $3,480 while owners faced with a furry friend that swallowed something it wasn't supposed to can expect to spend an average of $1,755, according to Petplan, a provider of veterinary health insurance. Cancer, which is diagnosed in 12 million pets annually, will set an owner back an average of $2,033.
Indeed, the American Pet Products Association estimates that pet owners will spend $16.6 billion on vet care in 2017, an increase from $15.9 billion in 2016. Spending can vary widely by state, as can be seen in this map:
According to Petplan, about a dozen jurisdictions including California, Hawaii and Washington, D.C., are the most expensive for vet care, averaging more than $1,400 annually. North Dakota and Arkansas have average vet costs of $769 each and are tied in Petplan's ranking for the least expensive states. Around 1 percent of pet owners have insurance on their four-legged companions.
"Most pet parents will probably be surprised to learn that the average bill for unexpected care can range from nearly $800 to $1,500 ... and the reality is that every six seconds a pet parent is handed a bill for more than $3,000," Petplan Veterinary Manager Elyse Cannon said in a press release . "Today's veterinary medicine is quite advanced, so there are almost as many treatments available to furry friends as there are in human healthcare. "