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"grant jacobsen" Discussed on The Indicator from Planet Money
"Gives mu is a flying squirrel. He lives in marshall town. Iowa and recently gizmo have to pay a visit to his vets grant jacobsen is gizmos fat. What what's wrong with gizmo. He was less thrilled. He was here for a neuter surgery so nothing wrong with the he might have had a grudge heading on what was going on. What with that in the background. Oh dog i'm sure howling fad. Yeah just six minute. Drive away from grant us another vet. So gizmo has is but there is a backstory here because grant worked for that other vet for nineteen years. He says he was planning to buy the practice. It was kind of understood in fact that that would happen but then he started hearing these things from the owner that made him. Hey there's going to be these people. They're from one of the corporations. They're they're doing practice evaluation. You know. i'm not really planning to sell to them. But i want to find out what the place is worse. The suits showed up. You can see where this is going. Grant got beat out. He says those corporate visitors offered a million dollars more for the practice than he could afford and he was not feeling happy about this. Well i mean disappointing. Would be an understatement. That's for sure. The corporation that beat grants bid is mars. The giant international chocolate company that makes eminem's twix bars and has locations around the world and this trend is corporate and even private equity money from everywhere from goldman sachs to mars to j. ab holdings which is the parent company of crispy. Cream has warning into the industry. I'm sally herships. And i'm stacey vanik smith. This is the indicator from planet money today on the show when and why giant corporations started investing in health care for our gerbils and our dogs and our cats and how all that corporate cash can impact independent. Pets like grant. This message comes from. Npr sponsor plaid. There is a finance app for everything these days. But how do you know which ones to trust. That's where plaid comes in the most popular finance apps and services use plaid to help you securely connect your financial accounts the best part. There's no extra work for you. Plaid is already used by over four thousand finance apps the next time you're signing up for a finance app look for plaid the safer way to share your financial information. Not everybody is an animal lover. What i know. I know but for sixty three point. Four million americans who owned dogs the forty two point seven million americans who owned cats and of course. We can't overlook the owners of fish. Birds reptiles horses flying squirrels for all of those pet owners. Their love translates directly into dollar signs. You know. I have clients referring to their dogs as their children's siblings and their parents as their dogs or cats grandparents. Dr miguel your is a vet. And she sees this kind of spending tampa all the time in the us spending in the veterinary care market totalled thirty one billion dollars. Today we spend more than double what we did a decade ago on our pets and gush buying toys. Oh thousands of dollars on clothes people will redo their houses. Yeah they'll they'll build carries outside. I'm going to do this so i don't even know what a cattery is stacey. You told me you were a cat lover. I doubt right now. People who will remortgage houses for some of these vet bills are twenty thirty thousand dollars. If you're going to get a hip replace- if you've had major operations you've you've had climbed to remortgage their houses. Yes how are you going to thirty thirty thousand dollars. Where are you going to get that money. But it did not used to be this way. And i know this may shock some pet owners out there but when madonna was a kid a lot of animals were kept outside the house. Maybe you took them to the vet a few times a year. So when did we start spending thirty grand and surgery for our pets. Mike dix was chief economist for the american medical veterinary association. And now he's a consultant for bets. I teach marion's to ask clients one set of questions because it's very important. Where does your pet sleep for. Options at sleeps outside sleeps in the garage sleeps in the house. It's sleeps in my bedroom. Mike where our pets sleep illustrate this one huge shift at occurred an invention with completely changed the way we interacted with and spend on our pets. That human animal bond thing really really took off in the late eighties as parasites came on and we were able to keep those dogs in the house. Parasitism asari things kill fleas techs. I mean you know love has its limits like you do. I love you enough to get fleas. That's a whole other level of love and the more people are inside. What those cuts the more. They notice things. They noticed dog itching. Or it's robin its size or its strategist but on the floor. What and when they do. Mike says they call the vet. According to the american pet products association last year we spent over a record setting hundred billion dollars on our pets for food entries and vets so since the eighties and nineties this spending has been increasingly catching. The eye of corporations and veterinary practices can be seen as a reliable investment. It's got low overhead. It's not like you have to build a factory or create a production line. I wrote to mars. I wanted to know why the company invested in vets. They declined an interview but mars also makes pet food like pedigree and whiskers so it just makes sense to also invest in vets. Mike says there are about six thousand small to medium size vet practices and hospitals in the us. The kind that have at least two or three full-time bets on staff but out of those five thousand of them are now owned by big corporations. You might not know it because a lot of them like to keep that small business look and feel but many are consolidating or even buying and flipping them and that is having an impact on independent vets like grant in iowa vets are often in debt. They had to go to school which is expensive average. Tuition is more than two hundred thousand dollars. Some vets will never be able to pay off their loans. They pay the interest..