Having just had to pull out the evil plastic to pay a fairly expensive veterinary bill myself, I find this discussion on veterinary costs and whether pets are luxury "items" to be interesting.
Around the time the Wee Welshman turned one, Sweet Husband and I made a rough estimate of how much money had been spent on him in the last year. Suffice to say we could have gone on a fairly nice vacation.
Of course, our pups would appear to be a little spoiled to some people. They eat high quality food, go to doggie daycare once a week, and take classes in obedience and agility. I think it's unfair to expect them to be wonderful dogs if I'm less than a wonderful dog owner, and doing all that I can to keep them physically healthy and to provide an outlet for their doggy-brains is all part of the deal. I made the choice to have dogs, so now I have the responsibility to keep them well. And, for me, the returns have been much more than worth the costs.
That's probably why we're not big questioners of vet bills. We've found a group of veterinarians that we really like and trust, and if they say the pups need it, they need it. Fortunately we have that luxury. For us a large vet bill just means we don't get to go out to eat as much for the next few weeks. We haven't yet--knock on wood--had that really huge bill to put our convictions to the test.
But I appreciate the fact that for a lot a people, taking the dog to the vet means a person has to do without necessities, and consequently their pets don't go. Should those people just not get to have pets? Is it better for a dog to be euthanized in a shelter rather than be adopted into a home where it will be loved but maybe only get minimum care? I don't think so, but I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with me.