Pet Insurance – Vet’s Perspective

Don’t wait until you absolutely need assistance in financially caring for your pet. Make it a plan for the health of your pet and for future care.

So many times over 20 years of practicing veterinary medicine, I have overheard comments from pet owners regarding the cost and value of their pet’s care expressed in many different ways.

The first example is the snort and head shake (from the pet owner, not the pet) indicating their dissatisfaction with the cost of services followed by, “My own doctor doesn’t charge me this much.”.

The furthest extreme which is fortunately something I more frequently encounter is the hug and exclamation, “I wish you could be my doctor” or “When I get sick next time can I come and see you?”.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle and hopefully closer to the later examples but it is true the cost of care is something that many people find difficult to grasp, especially at times when the need for care is an emergency or involves a specialty center when advanced diagnostics are required.

All households have to make decisions based on what is right for their family and pets and that means financially what they can afford as well as how much time they can put into the care of their pet, including training if behavior training is needed to prevent self destructive or property destroying tendencies or aggression.

As pet owners, we have a responsibility to provide for the care of those we take in and love. As consumers, we have the right to know all of our options and consequences of each step, and make decisions based on the information available to us.

As veterinarians, we take the Veterinarian’s Oath upon graduation and we are charged with using our scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. We are to practice our profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics. We accept a lifelong obligation to continually improve our professional knowledge and competence. This can be a daunting and expensive endeavor for veterinarians but it is a labor of love.

Each pet owner ideally with have a connection to the veterinarian with whom they are speaking regarding the care of their pet. The communication of sometimes grave facts regarding a pet’s condition or even just cursory information to prevent health problems in the pet and in protecting the family is important both in the delivery and the acceptance of hearing that information. Hopefully, you have that relationship with your veterinarian.

Being prepared to shoulder the cost of care is an important responsibility and pet owners are usually well aware of that burden. Part of being prepared is to determine if veterinary pet insurance is a need in your household. Commonly, as veterinarians, we recommend that a portion of your savings be earmarked for your pet for emergencies rather than pay that fee to the insurance company. Or, we may have a name in mind of a company that we have heard over and over, but perhaps that is not really the best company after all for your situation.

The basic facts are that most families are not going to be faced with the astronomical health care debt for their pets that we may be faced with in the human medical industry. Many times we have all heard about the cost of advanced therapies (or not so advanced in the human field. Those will excellent health care coverage may never know the extent of the expense truly, but for anyone who has had to pay out of pocket, those costs are amazing. Pet insurance is a far different animal than the costs you may incur for a cancer therapy is more realistically less than $20,000 but can range up to $40,000 or more but for human treatments you can expect up to $3 million using the same medications and therapies.

So is pet insurance worthwhile? That will depend entirely on how your finances and responsibilities are structured. There are numerous pet insurance companies out there and probably the best way to evaluate their function is to compare your needs with what they really offer. I recommend visiting Pet Insurance Review, a website that allows you to spend as much time researching this as you wish. There are also testimonials from pet owners, the good, the bad and the ugly all together in one place which has been of great help to many of my clients whether they ended up purchasing insurance or not. Each and every of the products available through our website has been produced using the best base materials.
 

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