My Experience with Pet insurance

Growing up I was always fortunate enough to own animals who were easy keepers.  They never fell seriously ill, and never had any mishaps that would greatly affect their health or quality of life. Before my time working in a clinic if you had asked me if I felt needed pet insurance for any of my pets I would have said no.  Although since starting at a clinic my view on pet insurance has changed greatly!

Pet insurance I believe is something everyone should consider when acquiring a pet. No one plans to have an animal that eats things they shouldn’t. No one plans to have a dog that tears its cruciate ligament while jumping off the couch, or to own a cat whose bladder blocks. Often times when these situations arise medical care can be very expensive and pet insurance can help cover the cost of these unplanned events!

I acquired my Newfoundland puppy, Nymeria (Nym), in the very beginning of December 2015. She was such a quiet sweet little girl who I fell in love with immediately! Usually during a puppy’s visit to Mission Ridge we offer owners a free 30 day trial of pet insurance through Trupanion.  The day after I acquired Nym I arranged an exam with a vet and received my certificate for her 30 day trial that very same day. The sooner you sign up for pet insurance the better. Most puppies or kittens have no pre-existing conditions at this point in their life! Pet insurance like all insurance will not cover already existing problems. General costs (vaccines, vet check-ups, spay/neuter, food, toys,…) for a dog would not be a problem for me, but before acquiring Nym I looked into all the possible health issues a Newfoundland dog could acquire. I also asked myself in the event Nym had an accident would I be able to afford medical care for her?  If Nym ever had an accident or developed a health condition that her breed is prone to I would be heartbroken if I had to deny her medical care because I could not afford it. Pet insurance was something I got for her but I never thought I would actually have to use it. I just assumed she would be an easy keeper, but I felt comforted by the fact that in the event something was to happen (my time at the clinic has taught me ANYTHING can happen!!)  I could treat her without worrying about my financial constraints.

Fast forward 2 months later.

One Friday morning early February I head into the bathroom to get ready for work and notice that my bathtub door had been slid open. Upon closer inspection I find a ladies razor on the floor, usually it is kept on the bathtub ledge. The handle and the cartridge that holds the razor blades have been chewed on but the actual razor blades are nowhere to be found. I track down Nym who until this point has been very good for only chewing on her toys and treats. I look in her mouth expecting to find cuts or some blood because eating razors must cut her mouth a bit right? Nothing. Nym is her usually bouncy loving self with a cut free mouth, but I take her into work with me regardless that morning to snap a quick couple x-rays. As soon as we have the x-rays taken and up on the viewer there is without a doubt that Nym did indeed eat the blades.  3 were showing in her stomach and 1 in her intestines. As soon as I saw the x-ray I was immediately full of panic, the blades being sharp pose a risk of puncturing internal structures like the stomach and intestines. Nym is my special little bud and the thought of something like this happening to her was hard to wrap my head around and I was so worried. After speaking with vet I was given a couple options I could wait it out and see if she passes the blades on her own, but there is a risk with that. Or I could take her to surgery where they would perform an exploratory and remove the blades. It is at this moment I was extremely relieved I had pet insurance. I without a doubt did not want to wait for her to pass the blades and risk her perforating something internally, so I decided to take her to surgery. That very afternoon I took her to vet emerg where they removed 3 razor blades from her stomach! Nym had a very uneventful recovery and it was back to business to usual in no time.

Sometimes I think back to that day and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t had pet insurance for her. I would have been very hard pressed to come up with money for that surgery and I am not sure if I would have been able too. I might have had to opt for waiting for the blades to pass on their own because of my financial constraints.

No one should have to go through the process of denying their beloved pet medical care based on finances. I encourage everyone to look into pet insurance.  There are many different companies that have all kinds of coverage, deductibles and premiums. With a little bit of research you can find a plan that works for both you and your pet.  We all want to anything we can for our pets, they are with us when times are tough and we should be there for them too!

Written by: Stephanie Withers, RVT