Pets, Vets & Debts



More than half of Canadian households own a pet. That includes almost six million dogs and eight million cats. In the US, dog and cat ownership has quadrupled since the mid-sixties – more homes have cats and dogs than have children. The health and welfare of all these animals is a billion dollar industry. There is almost no limit to the treatment available to our furry friends - MRIs, heart stents and even stem cell transplants are now standard. 

Pets, Vets & Debts takes the viewer inside the operating room to witness cutting edge technology being used to treat pets - including two world firsts. In Ottawa, Dr. Julius Liptak uses a prosthesis to replace the jawbone of a twelve-year-old cat. In New York, Drs. Allyson Berent and Chick Weisse use stem cells from a donor cat to stabilize a cat’s kidney failure. 

The documentary also shadows Dr. Michael Ethier as he deals with a variety of very sick animals in the Critical Care Unit of the Toronto Veterinary Emergency Hospital - TVEH. With a staff of almost one hundred and state of the art medical equipment on site, this is a real hospital offering the same treatment you’d expect at a human hospital. Not surprisingly, medical bills can quickly go from the hundreds into the thousands.

Pets, Vets & Debts reveals strong opinions on both sides of the debate over whether so much money should be spent on pets. Some people argue that it is wrong to spend so much on mere animals. But most pet owners – like those who refer to themselves as “pet parents” and their pets as “fur babies” – are ready to dig deep to help their sick animals. People love their pets. And as the documentary discovers, many are ready to mortgage the farm to keep their companions happy and healthy.