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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Navigating the Pet Health Insurance Maze
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The Rainbow Bridge



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26 July 2008 - 7:43 pm
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Tripod Puppy Jerry before Amputation

Nine years ago, when Mom and Dad took me to my first vet visit, Mom saw pet insurance brochures on the counter. She remembers thinking to herself; “Insurance, for dogs? You’ve gotta be kidding.” Being new to dog parenting, she didn’t give it a thought after that, for a while.

During the first several years of my life, my vet bills were never more than a couple hundred bucks a year. But then I got cancer.

And as they say, houndsight is 20/20. Mom now thinks differently about insurance. She feels that if health insurance is so important for her, and my Dad, why not for me? I’m a family member too!

Plus, pet insurance premiums are less expensive than human medical insurance. My Mom knows that if she had signed me up long ago, she would’ve saved a ton of money when I got sick. Since my diagnosis, my pawrents have paid out about ten times more in health care costs for my vet bills, then their own health care bills!

Is pet insurance worth it?
Tripod dog post amputation surgery photo

If your dog became a Tripawd because of cancer, and you didn’t have health insurance before the illness was diagnosed, you’re already well acquainted with treatment costs. It may too late to buy insurance for your Tripawd (pet insurance won’t cover pre-existing conditions). But if you ever add another furry friend to your family, it’s a good idea to sign up for pet insurance as soon as s/he comes home.

Affordable Pet Health Insurance For Cats And Dogs

Because sadly, until there is a cure, cancer will keep happening to dogs. And if your dog is one of the unlucky ones and isn’t insured, and you’re in a tight financial position some day, you may end up in the heartbreaking situation of having to put a price on your beloved dog’s life.

Tripawds recently asked pawrents on the Bone Cancer Dogs group if they had pet insurance on their dogs with cancer, and if so, what their experiences were like when filing claims …

Read original blog post

What do you think? We’d love to get your feedback or hear your own reviews if you have or ever had a pet insurance policy.



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28 July 2008 - 3:23 pm
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I’ve just written a litte bit on your blog Jerry but this is a bis topic for me so I’m going to write some more Tongue out Embarassed

I hear all sorts of things about pet insurance.  People say they can’t see the benefit of it and others say they’d rather put money aside each month and then there are people like me who bleat on about pet insurance at every available opportunity Laughing

The way I look at is it this:- we pay insurance on our house, our car and goodness knows what else.  We may never need to claim on that insurance but thats what it is – INSURANCE incase you do need to make a claim.  You rarely hear people saying they’d rather put money aside each month rather than pay for their house insurance.

The only people (in my opinion) who don’t really need to consider pet insurance are those who are in the lucky position of having a LOT of spare money and financial concerns are very low priority in their lives.

The vast majority of us however, do need to watch how and where we spend our money and would find it either difficult or impossible to lay our hands on large sums, no matter how much we wanted to.

Lets say a person puts away £10 a month (ten english pounds) which is the average price for an average dogs monthly insurance premium.  Let them have a nice 12 months and they’ve got £120 in their ‘pet’ account.  Then lets give them another 12 months clear and now they have £240 put away.  And then in the third year, their dog becomes unwell.  Symptoms are that the dog has lost weight but is still eating well.  So – they have £240 plus a few extra £10’s and the tests begin to find out why their dog is loosing weight.  Consultation fee, urine tests, thyroid test, ultrasound…..ooops.  We just spent the whole of what was in the savings account.  Those tests haven’t given a cause so the next step is an MRI scan because the dog has lost another 3 pounds this week.  The MRI scan will be £1200 minimum.

Lets say they find the money for the MRI scan, the dog gets better and all is well.  And they start the fund again.

And 10 months later, when they’ve saved £100 (but are also still paying £100 a month back to their parents/friends for the loan for the MRI scan), the dog starts to limp and this time, it’s bone cancer.  The amputation and the chemo will be £3500.  The £100 that’s been saved hasn’t even paid for the consultation and the x-rays.

Putting £10 a month into an account rather than paying it to an insurance company just doesn’t make sense.  Up the figure from £10 to £30 and it still doesn’t make sense.  If you can afford to put a few hundred £’s away each month, that might make more sense but lordy meeeeeeee – it would be so much easier and so much less stressful to just pay the £10 a month to a good insurance company!

I’ll tell you of some of our claims a little later (if you’re still awake after reading all this!)

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

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28 July 2008 - 10:10 pm
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Hi Bevd, thanks for this great example of why pet insurance is so important. My pawrents and I agree with you 100%.

In the old days, pet insurance was unheard of, mostly because if a dog got sick, well, there just wasn’t much technology to pursue any kind of treatment. And sadly, people just didn’t treat pets like family back then. My Mom and Dad are guilty of not putting a priority on insurance for me.

But, as my pawrents learned, things are different today. The technology for we dogs is similar in quality to human medicine, and thank Dog, people have finally awakened to the fact that dogs are family too, and should be treated as such!

You’re right, the whole savings account thing is just silly. We were surprised to see people saying this could be an option instead of the insurance.

What other claims have you had?

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29 July 2008 - 5:08 am
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Morning Jerry and all (oooh Jerry – remember I once said that sometimes I don’t get the box with smiley’s and the box to make things bold etc? Well this is one of those instances. There’s nothing above my reply box other than the bit where I have to add up numbers).

Anyway – our claims in the past TWO years:-

Ella (Westie) was diagnosed at 5 months old with Perthes Disease. Started as a limp in hind left leg. Initial consultation, then x-rays, then follow up x-rays 2 weeks later, then surgery to remove the femoral head. Total cost including all follow up appointments was about £1800. (Again, in english pounds). I paid the excess which was £70.

Sprout (crossbreed) was limping about 18 months ago. He was 13 at the time. Consultation & x-rays revealed that he’d damaged his cruciate ligament. Choices were the TPLO surgery or the lesser repair surgery and as he’d not actually broken the ligament yet, we opted for the less complex repair option. Then he had 10 sessions of hydrotherapy at £25 each session. Total cost including all follow ups and the hydrotherapy was approx £2000 (so lets say approx $4000). I paid the excess of £95 plus 10% of the claim (due to dogs age)

Radar (crossbreed) in March 2006, jumped off the settee and discolated his hip. (Are you picking up a theme here, regarding LEGS? LOL). It was a very unusual dislocation. He was referred to a specialist where he remained in hospital for 10 days. He had the same surgery as Ella (femoral head and neck excision). Total cost including all follow ups and the 10 day hospital stay was about £2500+ Again, I paid the excess of £95 plus 10% due to dogs age.

Darcy aged 5 (as we all know by now!) was minding her own business on 16th October last year when she hurt her leg. X-rays were carried out that afternoon and by the end of the afternoon, she’d been diagnosed with bone cancer and had had her front right leg amputated. Chemo followed, plus all the relevant blood tests, an emergency call out shortly after surgery, etc. I have £4000 available in each policy year, to spend on vet treatments and the policy renews at the end of August. We have used about £3700. I paid the excess of £70.

Plus, there were smaller claims for a couple of our older greyhounds (who have now passed to the bridge) for issues with their toenails which required minor surgery on both.

And currently, we have a situation with Wallace (greyhound) where he has been seeing the vet for about 6 weeks due to sudden weight loss. He was 9 years old when the claim started so I’ll only need to pay the £70 excess. (If he had been 10 or over, the excess would be £95 and I’d need to pay 10% of the claim). So far, he has had numerous consultations at my normal vets, numerous tests (repeated bloods, 2 types of thyroid, urine, faeces, x-rays) and thats about £700, plus last week he was referred to a specialist because all the above tests came back clear. At the referral centre, he stayed for the day, we had our consultation and then they kept him to do various tests including another consult with a different specialist (an orthopedic man), ultrasound tests, various bloods, blood pressure etc etc and that came to £858.48. And tomorrow he is back with them for an MRI scan and a couple of other things whilst he’s asleep and that will be approx £1500. So once tomorrow is over, we’re upto about £3058. And I hope we can also get a diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is in, who knows what the treatment may be. I’ve not got much left to play with on his policy (less than £1000) but the policy will renew at the end of August, so we will then have that years £4000 for vet fees available again.

We have 10 dogs and I pay approx £200 per month in pet insurance premiums…but looking at the above, you don’t need me to do the figures for you.

I don’t harm my dogs (obviously LOL) and my dogs are not any more at risk from accidents or illness than anyone elses. The above things are just ‘luck’ (or bad luck) when it comes to dog ownership and what can go wrong accident wise or illness wise. Any of the above can happen to any dog who’s owner is reading this. I couldn’t afford to have this many dogs without the back-up of insurance. (Mind you, even if I only had one or two dogs I’d still have them unsured).

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

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29 July 2008 - 8:47 am
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Hi Bev,

Wow! Thank you for sharing those details with us. Just that information alone is enough to convince us that pet insurance is sooooooo important! You’re right; it’s just a fact of life that things happen, medical situations come up, and everyone should get the care they need. With pet insurance, euthanasia rarely comes into the equation.

Can I ask who your carrier is? And has your claims process been smooth, or is there a lot of paperwork on your end?

One more thing; you are a true saint for giving so many loving dogs an awesome home. Bravo!

 

P.S.  Sorry about not getting the editing options above your writing area. What browser/operating system are you using?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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29 July 2008 - 10:35 am
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(I’m using Internet Explorer 7….and in this reply box, I have all my options back again).

The company that I use for my dogs insurance is PetPlan – but I’m in the UK so that may not mean anything to you.  (Actually half are with PetPlan and half are with another company but most of my claims have been through Petplan).  There has been virtually no paperwork at my end.  I’m very lucky in that my vet will do the claim directly with the insurance company so all I need to do is sign the claim form at the vets, pay my excess and toddle off and not think about it.

All claims have been paid so far.

The only time there was ever any quibbling by the insurance company is for the emergency call out on the Sunday after Darcy’s surgery.  I called the vet because Darcy was severely panting and we took her in and she was treated.  The claim went in as ‘breathing difficulties’ and Petplan declined it because they queried whether or not it constituted an emergency.  Idiots.  LOL.  Once they were asked how much more of an emergency they wanted when the dog was having difficulty breathing, they had a rethink and paid up.

Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.

***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***

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29 July 2008 - 4:57 pm
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Wow, that is great to hear that you haven’t run into any hassles. It seems that even doggie health care in other countries is more comprehensive, affordable and pain-free than human health care here in the States. You are so lucky!

P.S. Glad to hear your buttons came back. Weird, not sure why that happens occasionally.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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