Everyone who owns a pet such as a cat or a dog will know that paying for their day to day care can soon become expensive, especially when you factor in veterinary care too for routine procedures such as your pet’s annual health check and booster shots.
The drop-off rate of people who have the initial two-stage vaccinations for their pets and then don’t return a year later for their pet’s boosters is around 30% (before adjustment to take into account the possibility of clients visiting another clinic or moving out of the area rather than failing to vaccinate)-and when it comes to second, third and subsequent years, the drop-off rate continues to rise steadily.
While there are a lot of potential reasons for this-the pet has changed hands, died or moved to another area, or the owner is using a different clinic in later years, it is all too easy for owners to get a little lax about their pet’s boosters, either due to forgetfulness, lack of funds, or the hassle of getting their pets to the clinic for a set appointment.
In order to try to counteract the booster rate drop-off issue and ensure that as many pets as possible are protected by vaccination, an increasing number of UK veterinary clinics have begun offering “vaccination for life” schemes at the time of the pet’s initial set of shots or their most recent booster appointment-but what does “vaccination for life” entail, is it worth considering, and is it good value for money? Read on to learn more.
Vaccination for life schemes are run by some chain veterinary clinics and some individual or independent practices, and the concept behind it is simple: You pay a set, one-off fee on top of the usual vaccination cost when your pet is vaccinated or has their boosters, and then your subsequent annual boosters and health checks are free for the remaining life of the pet.
The cost of the scheme varies depending on the clinic or organisation offering it and what is on offer, but usually comes in anywhere between £70-£200, depending on what type of pet you have, and which shots they get. This fee is generally charged on top of the first set of vaccination fees, which range in cost from about £40-£60, depending on the type of pet that you own and which shots they have.
If you have the initial outlay of funds to invest in vaccination for life, you can ultimately make big savings in the long term on the cost of your pet’s vaccinations. Annual boosters and health checks cost between £40-£60 approximately every year, and if your pet joins the scheme when they are young and live to old age, you’ll be looking at a long-term saving of hundreds of pounds, and potentially, over £1,000.
On top of saving money, you will never have to worry in the future about raising the funds for your pet’s annual boosters, which means of course that pets will be more likely to get their boosters and health checks when they need them, without their vaccinations lapsing.
The cost of joining such schemes can be prohibitive for some people, who will appreciate the long-term value but simply cannot shell out the additional funds to join the scheme in the first instance. Also, if you sell or give your pet away, membership of the scheme cannot normally be passed on to the new owner-and of course, if your pet does not live a very long life, you may not make any noticeable saving at all, and you can’t get your money back!
Also, if you join a scheme with an independent or individual clinic and then move away, you will either have to make a special trip back to get your vaccinations, or join another clinic and pay as normal. With large chain clinics that offer the scheme, you can usually transfer to another clinic within the chain and still benefit from the savings, which gives the chain clinics an advantage, but again this depends on moving to an area where that chain has a local branch!
It is worth asking around or searching the internet to find out about clinics local to you that offer the scheme, as an increasing number of small group clinics and individual practices are offering the scheme as its popularity rises.
Some of the larger chain and group clinics that run the scheme include Vets4Pets, Companion Care, The Vet, and many more-and once more, it seems likely that an increasing number of chain clinics will get on board with the scheme as it becomes more widely known about.
If you are considering signing up for a vaccination for life scheme for your cat or dog, it is important to check the terms and conditions of the plan offered at your local clinic before you sign up and hand over your funds-just to make sure that you are clear on what is on offer, how it works, and that it will be good value for you.