Regular animal care is already costly. Based on the Calgary Humane Society’s online pet budget calculators, a dog costs an estimated $21,700 during its average 12-year lifespan. A typical feline costs $14,000. Medical care can add hefty charges to a pet’s lifetime bill — diabetes alone can cost up to $10,000. Unlike medical bills for people, pet owners usually have to pay for veterinary procedures immediately. With the ratio of average household debt to disposable income reaching a record 165.5 per cent as of June 2013, many Canadians are forced to make heartbreaking decisions when their beloved dog or cat needs potentially lifesaving, but prohibitively expensive, surgery and medications.