The following is a guest post from Aloysa at The Kitchen Sink.
Our five year old pug got sick. He got an upset stomach and had some accidents at home which was completely out of his character. We immediately took him to our vet. And the financial adventure began…
The cost of walking into the clinic and getting a vet to examine a dog was $40. It did not guarantee any results or diagnosis. We had to pay an additional $48 to test our pug’s stool in order to determine if he had any parasites. Not to waste any time and get something done, we got a prescription for an antibiotic for another $37 and a probiotic for $25 to make sure that good bacteria would not be killed in our pug‘s stomach.
Total cost of the visit was around $150.
Results? A phone call from the vet’s office to tell us that no parasites were discovered and we needed to continue to give our dog the antibiotics.
Ten days later our little pug looked and behaved healthy. Five days later all the symptoms returned.
Another visit to the vet’s office, another exam, and this time a blood test for $138. What can you possibly test for this amount of money? Genes, DNA, genealogical tree? What did we find out? That our pug is healthy. Blood did not have any abnormalities. We, including our pug, were happy.
But I expected something more for the money we paid. I don’t know what I wanted to hear or see. Maybe I wanted a chart of our pug’s genealogical tree, his history with pictures. Maybe I expected someone to tell us that he is half pug, half human?
The day the blood test results came in, an internal medicine doctor showed up to give our pug a thorough exam and consultation. She found one small polyp, recommended to switch our pug to a prescription food. She spent with us about an hour talking in medical terms half of which neither I (English is my third language) nor my husband (who is American) could understand. Cost of medical talk $110. Results: we took home new food (cost $15) and a one-page report on our pug’s health.
Total cost for both visits and tests was a little over $400.
We are still clueless if our dog is going to get any better. When we were leaving, probably seeing our disappointed and frustrated faces, our vet suggested that we look into pet insurance.
We immediately did and this is what we discovered:
Advantages of having pet insurance (unfortunately not may):
1. Most of the plans cover vaccinations, spay, neuter, and in some cases flea medication;
2. You get reimbursed for some of the expensive procedures, depending on your coverage.
Disadvantages (unfortunately too many):
1. You have to pay a monthly fee even if you don’t have to take your pet to see the vet;
2. You still have to pay your vet the full amount and file an insurance claim on your own;
3. A pet insurance will hardly ever reimburse you 100%. Usually it pays only 80%. Some of the plans don’t cover surgeries and other expansive procedures.
4. Most of the comprehensive coverages are expensive especially if you are getting insurance for a pet who was sick within the last six months.
It is a tough decision. Do we want to get a cheap insurance with limited coverage options or should we just put away $40 (a cost of monthly pet insurance premium) in a savings account? So far, we choose the latter.
Crystal’s Question: What do you think of pet insurance?
If you want to see photos of Mr. Pug or Miss Doxie, my two dogs, head on over to Dog’s Life For Me.