GENERAL HOSPITAL, Colo.
— If you’re thinking about getting a new dog, you might want to reconsider.
The Crossroads animal medical center in Colfax has some serious competition for the best pet hospital in Colorado, and some experts think the only thing keeping it from that title is its price tag.
“It’s not like Crossroads is a cheap hospital,” said Dr. Mark Stoner, a veterinary internist who treats about 250 dogs at the Crossroads facility.
“They’re expensive, but I don’t think it’s a lot of money.”
The cost of living and medical costs have been steadily rising in Colorado in recent years.
The cost of housing a family of four at a Colorado home, for example, rose from $8,903 a year ago to $8.3 million last year, according to data from the Colorado Department of Finance and Administration.
The health care sector has also been on a steep upward trend in recent decades, and Stoner said he knows some people who are considering switching to a pet hospital.
“I’ve been doing it for 40 years,” he said.
“But I do think that there’s something more than a mere cost of keeping a pet here.”
While some pet owners might have a better idea of what it will cost to buy a new pet from a pet store, Stoner says there’s no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to paying for your pet care.
“You have to be careful with your financial health, but also the financial health of your pets,” Stoner explained.
“There are a lot more people out there that want to do what I do than there are people who want to spend that kind of money on their pets,” he added.
Stoner’s team treats about 150 to 200 dogs a year, most of them dogs from shelters.
The average cost of a pet surgery is $5,000, with vets treating around $3,000.
Stoner also works with people who have had pets for more than five years.
“We try to help them navigate the insurance process,” he explained.
“We work with them to determine what the benefits are for them.”
Stoner said most people who choose a pet facility for their pets do so with the hope of saving money.
“The pet care is not necessarily the most expensive part of a veterinarian’s practice, but it’s not the most important,” he noted.
“So when people think of pet hospitals, they think about pet-oriented clinics,” he concluded.
“If you want to save $50,000 for a pet, I think you should go to a vet, but there are other choices.”
Stonia’s team sees the pet health care industry as an area where pet owners can have a big impact on their pet’s health.
“Pet owners want to help their animals live healthier, more productive lives,” he continued.
“That means the way they feed their animals, the way that they handle their veterinary issues, and the things that they do with their pets that can improve their pets’ health, well, there are a ton of different things that are very beneficial to pets.”
That’s really where a lot is being done,” he stressed.