If your pet was dying - but there was a cutting-edge procedure that could save their life - would you shell out big bucks for it? A lot of pet owners say “yes," and more and more veterinarians across North America are practicing advanced medicine on pets.  

Dr. Patty Khuly is a vet at the Sunset Animal Clinic in Miami, where they perform all kinds of advanced procedures on animals, including heart surgeries, MRIs and ultrasounds. Dr. Khuly says many pet owners consider themselves “pet parents” – and are willing to look after them the same way they would any other member of the family. 

Also, the advanced medicine that has been perfected on pets is now showing up in human medicine. 

For example, doctors at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine perfected a surgical technique to repair torn knee ligaments on dogs. Now it’s being used on pro football players.

The school also pioneered Tomo Therapy, a radiation treatment that targets only a tumor, and prevents trauma to the surrounding healthy tissue. It was first tried on a terrier named Scout that was diagnosed with cancer. 

And though it cost $6,000, Scout’s owner paid only half, because the rest was covered by academic study grants. 

Financial aid like that is helping pet owners with the high cost of advanced veterinary care. And some pet hospitals also offer payment plans, or they hold fundraisers to help owners who can’t afford the pricey procedures.