Disabilities no longer a death sentence for pets

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October 18, 2010 6:53:15 AM PDT
Cats, dogs and other pets with disabilities that would have once caused the animals to be euthanized are living longer lives, thanks to a growing industry that caters to their owners.

From canine chiropractors to companies that make wheelchairs designed for dogs, a segment of the $47 billion pet market is expanding to meet the needs of humans and animals alike.

Pet industry consultant Leslie May says the growth in services and products for disabled animals has been robust over the last five years.

Dianne Dunning is head of the Animal Welfare, Ethics and Public Policy Program at N.C. State University. She says people increasingly see pets as members of the family. That makes people more willing to devote more resources to their animals.