PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — How much would you pay to save your pet?

According to estimates by the American Pet Products Association, Americans will spend more than $13 billion on general and specialty care this year.

Dan and Kay Millar’s German shepherd, Tiberius, started having hip problems when he was just 6-months-old.

His pain became so unbearable that by the time Tiberius was 5-years-old he needed a hip replacement. Now, six years later, he is still recovering.

“He’s on two things. One is an underwater treadmill, which I think people will find very interesting. The other is laser,” says Kay Millar. “At this point, he’s up to 15 minutes on the treadmill. He will be, over the next six weeks, he will work up to 30 minutes on the treadmill and then he has 15 minutes of laser treatment.”

There are veterinary specialists trained for almost every problem your pet may experience, from allergies to debilitating diseases. You need to make sure that you find the right one for your pet.

“When hiring a specialty veterinarian, you are going to do the same research you would for a regular veterinarian,” Angie Hicks, of Angie’s List, says. “You want to check their board credentials, their experience, how long they’ve been practicing. The same type of steps you would use in hiring a specialist for yourself.”

You should also think ahead – before a problem occurs – about how much you are willing to spend on your pet’s health care.

“When going to a specialized veterinarian, you need to plan ahead for the costs,” said Hicks. “Talk to your general veterinarian about how much it’s going to cost so you are not surprised. More than 50 percent of the respondents to a recent Angie’s List poll have used a specialty vet, and 27 percent of them said it cost more than $2,500.”

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