Monday, May 14, 2012

Pet insurance. It exists! And can be a life saver for pet owners who can't afford emergency vet bills on their own.

I see a lot of very sad things working at an emergency vet clinic.  It's just a part of the job.  But I’ve managed to stifle my tears and carry on in the face of dead and dying animals and their mourning owners. That is….until recently.  Earlier this week presented a case that struck a cord with me in a way that required I go spend a little time by myself because I couldn’t help but cry. A puppy came in that was very sick. It was in and out of the clinic for a couple days before it came back one last time in such a state that the kindest thing to do was humanely euthanize. And while the puppy was in a physically terrible state, the real problem was that the owners didn’t have enough money to pay for the treatment needed to help the puppy get better.

This little puppy is not the first animal that I’ve seen put to sleep because the owners didn’t have money to pay for treatment. Surgeries can cost thousands of dollars, x-rays alone can cost hundreds. And while the doctors at the emergency clinic try to work with and help out those for whom money is an issue, there is only so much we can do while still staying in business. It breaks my heart to see animals for which the only financially viable option is humane euthanasia. Watching this happen to a puppy, which had barely begun to live its life, was very hard for me. All I could think was, life is just so unfair sometimes.

And so I’d like to talk a little bit about Pet Insurance.  Many people don’t know such a thing exits, but it does and there are many companies from which you can purchase policies.
When I first got Leopold, I knew that I could afford food, training classes, routine vet visits, and other doggy supplies. However, the idea of a trip to the emergency room scared me. Emergency bills add up quickly, something I know now more than ever as an employee at a vet emergency clinic. And while emergency vet bills do not always reach the thousands, they can—especially if surgery is needed. So to help ease my mind, I looked into and purchased a pet insurance plan for Leopold. It was incredibly affordable (less than $200 a year) and would provide up to $12,000 in treatment for an emergency situation. The premium goes up a little ever year because Leopold’s chances of needing emergency care for illness or injury increase as he gets older. However, it’s still affordable. And while Leopold has not yet needed to visit the emergency room, it’s nice to know that I’d be able to pay the bill if I had to.
If you’re interested in finding and purchasing a plan, here’s a website I found helpful:
I, myself, got a policy with PetPlan, which is one of the higher user-ranked, but still affordable companies. The plan I got was good for emergency situations.  But there are many companies that have many different plan options. There are even companies that offer plans, for a higher premium of course, that help pay for routine vet visits and vaccines.
I recommend pet insurance to anyone who doesn’t have thousands of dollars that they could potentially drop on treatment for their animal. Paying a little bit now sure beats having to euthanize your fury little friend because you can’t pay for treatment when bad luck stumbles their way.

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