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Having trouble affording your vet bills? We find out why and what your options are


Are you struggling to cover the cost of your pet’s latest trip to the vet? Between vaccines, routine check-ups and unexpected emergency care, the bills can add up.

The number of animals in shelters rose to nearly a quarter-million in 2023, according to Shelter Animals Count, and economic hardship is one of the reasons families give up their pets.

A recent report in "The Atlantic" examined the rising cost of veterinarian services and found that private equity funds are getting in the business, purchasing smaller practices, and as a result, prices are rising.

On Cincinnati Edition, we look at the ownership and pricing structure of “Big Vet,” and see what affordable options are available to help families with pet care.


  • Helaine Olen, managing editor, American Economic Liberties Project
  • Chris Seelbach, executive director, Ohio Alleycat Resource
  • Karen Leslie, executive director, The Pet Fund

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  • Listen on-demand. Audio for this segment will be uploaded to this page by 4 p.m. ET., or subscribe to our podcast.
Updated: June 25, 2024 at 3:19 PM EDT
Cincinnati Edition reached out to the hedge funds reporter Helaine Olen wrote about in her article. VCA Animal Hospitals responded to us with this statement:

"As part of a family-owned business with nearly 90 years of experience and heritage caring for pets, we work to positively impact pets and the people who care for them in support of our Purpose: A Better World for Pets. 


"Veterinary services are in high demand, and the level of care expected today is much different than in decades past. Our long-term commitment to the veterinary profession gives us the incentive to create a sustainable profession, which is why we make significant investments in areas like scientific research; innovative care delivery; environmental sustainability; and academic partnerships scholarships, and training to combat the veterinary workforce shortage


"We are dedicated to supporting our veterinary teams in delivering high-quality veterinary care and invest heavily in our Associates, clinics, state-of-the art equipment, technology, and other resources to enable access to a range of pet healthcare services—whether preventive care or treatment of unexpected illness.


"Our veterinary teams review treatment options and estimated costs with clients before deciding together on a treatment plan that is individualized based on each pet’s unique needs. We work to ensure our clients have access to the information they need regarding treatment options and associated costs to make informed decisions about their pet’s care."

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