If your pet needed urgent medical attention tomorrow would you be prepared?

Pets - Pet insurance
Australia
July 8, 2008 2:18am CST
Working in animal emergency, I find that a lot of people aren't prepared for the veterinary bills they are faced with. I am often greeted at reception with a grunt or something like "How much is this gonna cost me? That's ridiculous, I didn't plan for my dog to eat building plaster in the middle of the week!" Well you're a bit silly aren't you! Animals are unpredictable, things could go wrong with them that you're not even prepared for! Cats and dogs get paralysis ticks and sometimes it's too late before the owner finds it, cats often get urethral blockages (especially male cats), animals get out and are hit by cars. Sometimes if an animal needs surgery it can be a $1000 bill upfront plus ongoing treatments!A lot of people now have pet insurance and some people have emergency funds on their credit card to pay for things like this but I have seen so many otherwise healthy pets euthanased simply because the owner couldn't pay $400 to fix a fractured leg. It's heartbreaking for the owner and this is why all pet owners should be prepared for emergencies like this. Are you prepared?
6 people like this
23 responses
@GreenMoo (11842)
8 Jul 08
I don't have pet insurance as I don't feel it's worthwhile, but that's personal choice and I completely understand why some people do. When something goes amiss with my pets and I get an unexpected bill, out comes the credit card. It's what it's for!
2 people like this
@cassidy22 (2975)
• United States
8 Jul 08
I have done a lot of research into pet insurance, as we currently have 7 dogs in the house, 2 of which are pasture guardians and we want to make sure we can get them help if they should get into a fight with coyotes. Good farm dogs can be hard to replace. However, pet insurance doesn't always cover eveything, they can deny your claims, and they can have awkward fee schedules, etc. And you might not actually get your money's worth. What my husband and I are doing instead is what I call "self insuring" I have set up a separate savings account for dog emergencies. Instead of spending $20-$80 per month aying for pet insurance, we are putting that amount away every month into this savings account. Eventually, it will add up to a significant amount of money (and earn interest on itself) and we can dip into that for dog emergencies. Of course, living on a farm and having 7 dogs means we have more emergencies than most people, but we think this is better than pet insurance, as we don't lose any of it.
3 people like this
@GreenMoo (11842)
8 Jul 08
What an excellent idea Cassidy. Most of my dog bills come from routine stuff which insurance wouldn't cover anyway.
2 people like this
• Australia
9 Jul 08
It's great that you're prepared like this. My partner and I are opening an 'emergency' account next week and putting weekly savings into it. Credit cards are evil! (to me anyway) and 'self insurance' seems like the best option for us.
@cassidy22 (2975)
• United States
8 Jul 08
Interesting, I just posted a discussion about Bloat in dogs. I am and am not prepared. Emotionally, I am prepared. I just spent $2700 on emergency surgery for our german shepherd who had Bloat. My husband wanted to put him down, but I couldn't do it. He's only 7 years old! My husband also spent $3000 on another german shepherd when he was only 2 years old, to replace his knee. We also spent $800 on stiches for our third german shepherd when she got caught up in some barbed wire and ripped her skin very badly. (we have also spent an entire weekend removing all the old barbed wire from our fences on our farm) I've had 3 dogs in to have broken teeth removed, I have an old dog with cancer that I have had in for ultrasounds and x-rays. We've spent more than most people. My husband would have had the dog with bloat put down, but I couldn't do it. He's only 7. Now my very old dog, at 16 riddled with cancer (liver, badder, kidneys) I haven't had him in for surgery or chemo. He is 16 and very old - he might not live through a surgery, and chemo would be overwhelming for him. I have chosen to make him comfortable until the end, and say goodbye when it is time. You make different decisions with any dog. A condition like bloat is fixable IF FOUND IN TIME, and the dog can have a full recovery. The decision to have medical treatment is different for every dog and every income level.
2 people like this
• Australia
9 Jul 08
Cassidy, your dedication to your pets has resulted in me giving you best response! Oh and a German Shepherd with GDV? How suprising! I've been working in emergency for 6 months and the only breed I've seen come in with bloat so far have all been Shepherds!
8 Jul 08
Hello coffeeshot, I have two cats that I love more then my life so I am prepare for and accidents oor anything that may hapen to them, even if I haven't I rather starve then have them euthanased. Tell me how many people do that to their pets but spend more money on their cars? it really makes me angry, don't get me started here. if people cannot to keep their pets they never own one. Regards Tamarafireheart
2 people like this
@cjgrooms (4457)
• United States
8 Jul 08
I am as prepared as i can possibly be.
2 people like this
@selby70 (283)
8 Jul 08
We have insurance on our little dog, we did not on our last little dog in the last couple of years as it was really expensive and I thought it was better to pay for her treatment as she needed it which worked out fine. But if she needed anything that cost a lot and I did not have money I would get it. I always ask how much it would cost not because I would not pay it but to make sure and get the money, even though I have insurance on our dog Beanie I would be worried sick if he had to go to the vet not because of money in case something happened and I lost him. Our last little dog had to have a minor operation 2 years ago and I was just so worried she would not survive the operation.
2 people like this
@drannhh (15002)
• United States
8 Jul 08
Well, yes, I am absolutely prepared. How? By not having a pet! Yes they are cute, but you don't own them, they own you. I need my freedom. You raise some very good points here, and I hope people take a long hard look at the realities of pet ownership before encumbering themselves.
2 people like this
@saundyl (9698)
• Canada
8 Jul 08
I have some money set aside for emergencies for my pets BUT i wouldn't be able to afford a 1000 dollar surgery. I wouldn't be able to afford that for myself right now so Its not that i don't care its that I have got the income to save as much as i want to for that kind of thing. I would however find away to pay for it..I wouldnt put my pet down because of money.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jul 08
I have been faced with a bill like that as well , and put most of a paycheck in , and still that was not enough . It is crazy how high it is , and I wish there was a payment plan when something is needed asap .
2 people like this
@saundyl (9698)
• Canada
8 Jul 08
The vet i go to has a payment plan and allows payment at a later date. I've had him out to my place for my horse getting an infection in her hooves and He sent the bill later. BUT with him i also know of people hes done calls to and forgotten to bill. My dad is currently still waiting for the bill for the last c-section we had done in January on a cow. We even call to remind him. He's also very very good about emergency calls and sharing mileage with other farms in the area so going to 3 places and dividing the mileage 3 ways which is nice.
1 person likes this
@saundyl (9698)
• Canada
9 Jul 08
They do cost so very very much.
@addysmum (1225)
• Canada
8 Jul 08
I agree that as a pet owner people should be prepared however the cost of things for pets is crazy. My cats are on a special food for urinary crystals, in the last month the cost of that food has gone from $59 to $79 a bag; over 4 cats that is a lot of money. My male dog had surgery on his ear a few years ago the day his stitched came out he ruptured the entire ear, the vet agreed that it was something that she did wrong then charged me another $1000 on top of the $1000 for the first surgery to fix her error. The same vet wanted to charge me $400 to remove a wart from my old girls eye. Last year I decided not to breed my younger girl any more as she is now 6, so off to the vet to get her fixed $1800 because she is 6, has had multiple heats and 2 litters of pups. When my cat Sam came down with urinary crystals the bill for 1 night in the clinic, 1 IV, and all the meds and food to fix him up $2500. It is crazy the cost of these things for pets when the cost isn't even that high for a human. A cast on my dogs leg is twice the cost of one on my own leg and yes in Canada we have to pay for casts on humans. The question here is why are the costs so high. I broke down the bill for Sam when he got sick and the food was $6, the meds $76, the IV and cost for doing the IV $150, the cost of the fluids for the IV $400, the rest of that bill is his stay and vet fees. I have money that we put away for each pet every payday for these just in case but who can plan on those kind of bills.
1 person likes this
• Australia
9 Jul 08
This sounds ridiculous. Is this all the same vet? If so you should find another one. For a start, placement of an IV is $80 all up at my centre, and that's emergency rates! (dunno about the canadian dollar compared to the aussie dollar but it can't be too much different). And $400 for fluids? A bag of fluids costs less than 5 bucks. In one night Sam wouldn't have even gone through one bag. This is daylight robbery. You should call around and ask how much other vets charge. I once asked why vets are so expensive and a vet told me that basically there's not much of a demand for veterinary treatment compared to human medical treatment. humans will pay $300 a month for medications and some will mortgage their house for surgery or treatment but if an animal's treatment is too expensive for some people, many will elect to just euthanase. So, if more people visit their vet regularly and opt for treatment over euthansia, prices will slowly come down. Until then, it's gonan cost a small fortune to fix your pet in times like this which is why it's important to be prepared! Please do research your vet bill more, that sounds ridiculous to me. There's no way a blocked cat in hospital for one night could cost that much.... and if you can prove that your vet overcharged you, ring her and give it to her, that's sneaky and sly.
@addysmum (1225)
• Canada
9 Jul 08
The vet that took care of Sam and Pete (the dog with the ear surgery) I don't use any more because we moved. The food for the cats is from my current vet and I called every vet on this whole darn Island and it is going to cost me$1800 to fix my girl dog. So the plan with her is when she is in heat she is in the house and away from our boy, they were a breading couple. Pete is to old to fix he is 11 now and with his ear surgery we realized he can't go under any more. He went blind for 3 days and when he got his eyes sight back he fell over when he walked for nearly a month after. The next time the old girl see the vet it will be to put her down. She is 14, blind, deaf, and arthritic.
@metschica25 (5409)
• United States
8 Jul 08
I am not wealthy by any means, but I would do what ever I could to save my pet . I had a black cat you got sick many years ago with a bladder blockage . Up front we gave around 800 ( whole pay check just about) After , that he was doing fine and then his bladder just burst when he was going to the bathroom . He was drowning in his own fluids and needed surgery that was one thousand dollars up front . We applied for a pet card and were only able to get 500 towards it , and that did nothing . We had no choice but to put him to sleep . The thing is with the surgery there was only a small chance he would make it , but still he was my baby . We still have a pet care card now , but no money saved . Pet insurance is something we have looked into .
1 person likes this
• Australia
9 Jul 08
The fact you were prepared to give $800 up front shows you're a dedicated pet owner. You obviously didn't realise how expensive vets can be! And it is unfortunate that his bladder burst. So sorry to hear you had to put him to sleep when you were prepared to do all you can. At least now you know just how much you have to be prepared for emergencies like this.
@Annmac (950)
8 Jul 08
I've always tried to be prepared and now I have Pet Insurance for the younger cat and the dog, and an 'Emergency Fund' for my 18 year old cat. I try to insure that I have enough for an emergency call out. Accidents and illness always seem to happen 'Out of Hours' and a Sunday visit can cost 10 times more! As a life time pet owner and a care-worker for the elderly and disabled of the human variety I know all too well what 'could' and 'does' happen. We pay for our own health care by National Insurance so to me it makes sense to provide for my animals too.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jul 08
I try to be. The way the economy is, I just got my hours cut big time! I can only get 20 hrs./wk and I only make $10/hr. Now, I have to get another job, full-time, or get another PT job and do all of this while going to school to finish my AS degree. I've been lucky so far - haven't had any emergencies, and I have enough socked away (before my hrs. got cut) just in case, but... I don't think anyone could be prepared enough, because just when you think you are... WHAM! You're hit with a bill that far exceeds your savings! Plus the fact that my aunt's vet didn't bother telling her that after her cat had surery that infection would be an on-going thing. Had my aunt known this, she wouldn't have wasted thousands of dollars on the surgery, only to have the cat die anyway. This should have been discussed first and foremost. They sent her flowers for her loss, along with a bill. How rediculous!
1 person likes this
@wolfie34 (26881)
• United Kingdom
8 Jul 08
Having four cats in the household you are ready for anything, vets bills are covered because we used to have insurance for them, so it wasn't such a costly experience and it saved so much! Insurance is the best way when you have animals. I know its additional cost, but it's also peace of mind. People don't realize that there is more to an animal than giving you love and companionship, it's a big responsibility that should NEVER be taken lightly. I am not attacking anyone here but it does annoy me when some children persist in getting animals and when they fall sick they lose interest and it's down to the parents to fork out the money, and they begrudge it because the child doesn't want to know and wants something else instead like a computer game and the animal is forgotten and it becomes a millstone around the neck, it shouldn't be like that. Money should be no object if an animal is sick but having said that I do think that vet bills are astronomical and it's certainly NOT cheap to have an animal. I love animals I really do but I would never have any more, besides it kills me when they die, because they are part of the family, vet bills as well! It's all part and parcel of having the privelidge of looking after one of mother natures' animals.
@Aussies2007 (5339)
• Australia
8 Jul 08
I did it once... when my cat was less than a year old. I asked a friend to look after my cat for two weeks... and he finds nothing better than to lock it outside 24 hours a day. The cat get run over... his foot completely smash. The bill was $1000. I only paid it because the friend paid half of it. Today I would not be able to afford it. The cat is now 9 years old. And I keep tell him... if you get hurt... that is it. You are on your own. People have to face their own responsabilities... and so does the cat. Emprisoning the cat inside is not the solution from a cat point of view. As long as I do the right thing by the cat... and the cat is being stupid... the cat has to die. And believe me... cats are very smart when they want to be.
• United States
8 Jul 08
I disagree. You are treating the cat as if he were a human and can understand consequences! Pets are meant to be cared for and looked after, just as children are!
1 person likes this
• Australia
8 Jul 08
It pretty much depends on your budget. If you cannot come up with the money... the vet will be the first to offer you the alternative... the gold needle. Vets only care about their money... just like anyone else. Cats have a mind of their own. If you go against their will... they will give you hell. I should know. I had mine for 9 years and he tells me what to do... not the other way around. You cannot seriously compare a cat with a child.
1 person likes this
• Australia
9 Jul 08
The cat has responsilbilities? Sorry but that has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've heard. If you can't afford to take care of your cat you shouldn't have one.
@twoey68 (13662)
• United States
15 Nov 08
Actually I'm not...at the same time I do some preventive care by keeping Morgana as strictly an indoor cat, being careful not to leave anything around she can get into, getting her shots every year and getting her checkups. I've heard of pet insurance but haven't looked into it yet. Probably when I go to renew our policy I'll talk to them about it. To me having a pet is like having a kid and if your kid broke their leg, you wouldn't have them put to sleep over it. [b]~~MY OWN PEACE WITHIN~~ **STAND STRONG AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF**[/b]
@jsmith12 (438)
• Canada
7 Aug 08
We've been lucky so far, but if a major issue came up, well I like to think we are, but you can never be sure. We've had to put down a few rats due to cancer, but there wasn't any other option. We had a cat who had a health issue for a long time, and we did the best we could. I was so sad when I lost him.
@applefreak (3133)
• Singapore
22 Jul 08
oh dear that is not good to hear. having healthy pets euthanised because the owner couldn't pay the vet bill is ridiculous. i'm grateful that i have credit cards and that'll take care of the vet bill. i also have an emergency fund set aside for emergencies like this. having a pet is a heavy responsibility. if people are not ready, they should not have pets. however, i've got to admit that i don't have the funds if my pet need to go for kidney transplant. i read that it cost upwards of $25,000 to do such operations. i'm trying very hard to save but it seems so difficult to save so much. neverthless, i'll do my very best. cheers ;p
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
21 Jul 08
No I wouldn't be but thanks to having a credit card, I would have to use that. A few weeks ago my cat Bobo, blue point siamese was hit by a car and we found him by the road in the yard under a tree and he was laying there but wobbly so I ran to him and he tried to run off but his hind legs were being dragged behind him so I KNEW for sure then he'd been hit. I caught him and took him to the emergency vet here and thankfully, he survived. It cost us a pretty penny though but I feel he's worth every penny because he's my baby as all of my fur babies are. The vet bill was $617.55
• Philippines
11 Jul 08
been there and i must say i am prepared..when my Raggy got ill, he wont eat and he just so sad and wont play i rush him to the Vet..he was admitted for a week and it costs me 7000 pesos..in our currency thats huge amount of money..but i wont care for as long as he lives..now he is healthy as ever..he is so energetic and playful sometimes he irritates me when i'm tired..
@zhuuraan (967)
• United States
9 Jul 08
No, but I don't have a pet and I think that any responsible pet owner should be ready and willing to provide such care for their animals, otherwise they should not own one. As for your example of an animal euthanized because they couldn't pay for a broken leg, how would the owner have felt if they had broken a limb and the family just told the doctors to kill them? Some people would say that is different but I think it is exactly the same. Animals deserve as much love, respect, and care as we do.
• Regina, Saskatchewan
9 Jul 08
Quite honestly - no, I'm not prepared. It's not like I have a special account for my dog's medical bills. BUT, that said, I will forego paying a utility bill, or something else 'human' in order to properly care for my dog! She is a member of my family, and I have money for my needs, which I would gladly use for my pet if needed. But you raise a good point coffeeshot, and one that I will consider seriously from now on - put some extra money aside for my pet's emergencies. Thanks for the heads up.