Do you have pet insurance?
Earlier this month I wrote about preparing for your pets in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, but what about a medical emergency for your pet. How will your bank account be impacted from a medical emergency that you hadn’t thought about or prepared for?
Both of my MuttButs are now seniors and unfortunately I never got pet insurance for either of them when they were young. I briefly considered it but then thought about my pets when growing up and didn’t really think they were going to be that expensive. Boy was I wrong!
When first adopting a pet and bringing it into your family pet insurance is something that is often overlooked during the excitement, but it can be a costly omission. Trust me!
There are numerous factors to consider with pet insurance. It’s similar to your own health insurance in that there are deductibles, co-pays, premiums, waiting periods and they normally don’t cover any pre-existing conditions. I found that petmd.com has some great information to review as you consider your options. I would also recommend talking to your veterinarian. They can tell you the different insurances that they take and also the experiences that they’ve had with companies. The premium ,while important, it’s not going to be your primary factor because you want to make sure that it’s going to pay out when you need it most.
When looking at pet insurance you’re going to want to focus on insurance that will cover you in the event of an emergency. You can budget for wellness issues like heartworm prevention and vaccinations. Emergencies that can cost in the thousands (even tens of thousands!) are much harder to save for and can break the bank!
Riedi’s Bionic leg
Riedi is now 13 1/2 and Margi is 11 so you know I’ve got some stories to tell about them, well mainly stories about Riedi. Margi for the most part has been a pretty good girl, with a small mishap here or there. Riedi on the other hand is a whole different story.
Not long after adopting Margi, Riedi tore his ACL on his back right leg. Basically he couldn’t walk on it at all and needed surgery. It was a long and expensive recovery. He had his surgery, had to be boarded for about 10 days afterward to restrict his movement, and needed to be crated with very restricted movement for the next several months. This is so he didn’t’ get too excited and hurt his leg before it had a chance to heal. Of course, during this time he needed his pet sitter to visit daily for potty breaks.
He also got to experience several weeks of underwater treadmill therapy! Riedi likes the water but he really didn’t like the underwater treadmill at all! He whistled (whined) the entire time for every session. We even put cheese on the glass in front of him to lick off, but he still whistled. I know they were glad when his sessions were over!
After all of that rehab, his x-rays showed that he was healed, but in true Riedi fashion, he continued to complain. He simply would not use his back right leg at all. I then had to take him for a CT scan to determine why he wasn’t using his leg. His CT scan revealed that he had mild arthritis at just five years old!
Once we had a diagnosis, he then started taking additional arthritis medication (cha-ching) so that he would walk again. Luckily it worked like a charm and he did get back to his old self again. Between the surgery, underwater treadmill therapy, CT scan and arthritis medication Riedi’s bionic leg probably cost me well over $8,000. His bionic leg still has the metal plate in it!
If I lose it, Riedi will find it…… and eat it!
Riedi really is my problem child. He likes to dig in the trash and search through the house and find things he’s not supposed to be getting into. He’s gotten into the trash and eaten coffee grinds, found gum (with xylitol!) tucked away somewhere that I had lost. Each of those incidents each cost him at least a day at the vet. Not to mention the instances where he managed to dig knee-high pantyhose out of the trash and had to have them pulled out of his rear more than once – ouch! You would have thought that he would have learned from that, but no, he didn’t. Now that he is a teenager (13 is a senior for dogs, but I tell him he’s a teenager), he has improved, but I do still find him getting into things he shouldn’t.
Does your indoor pet really need insurance?
Yes! As you can see from Reidi’s mishaps, accidents and emergencies don’t just happen outside. Several years ago one of my friends adopted a cat, Poco. Within the first year of her adoption she racked up a bill of over $6,000! One day while running around, playing and doing some acrobatics, Poco broke her leg. She had to have major surgery to make sure it would properly heal. It was a long process and like Riedi’s leg surgery, there was a while they were very concerned about it not healing properly.
Poco also got into some string and a straw she ferreted out from somewhere in her house and swallowed. She had to have surgery to have it removed. It sounds like she and Riedi might be a little bit related. They both have a bionic leg and a propensity for eating things they shouldn’t.
As you can see, pet emergencies don’t just happen outside and many of us don’t budget for a major expense like these. That’s why pet insurance is really something you should look at as soon as you bring a pet into your family. Your pet and your pocketbook will thank you for it.
Point of no return
If you’re like me and are at a point where you regret that you decided not to get pet insurance and your pet has too many excluded pre-existing conditions, there are options to help so that it’s not a lump sum expense. You may want to check out carecredit.com. I’ve not used it, but heard about lots of positive experiences. I wish I knew about it when Riedi got his bionic leg.
It’s a credit card specifically for healthcare costs (for pets too!) with short term financing. Some options can include no interest as long as the terms are met. I’m hoping that Riedi has seen the end of majorly expensive vet visits, but if not, I’ll be contacting CareCredit.
Blogs on this site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission.