Top Ten Reasons to Get Pet Insurance Or Black Swan Insurance Today
10 Instances When Pet Insurance Saves Lives
or, Why the Black Swan* Accident or Illness Ruins All of Your Plans, and You Cannot Predict It!
Certain illnesses and accidents cannot be overcome without surgery and/or intensive care. If your pet comes down with any of the following, money may be the only thing standing between your cat or dog and a cure and a normal life. Only money. With pet insurance your pet probably lives, without insurance or a large savings account, you may have to decide to put your friend down only because of money, not because of lack of technology or veterinary know-how.
1. Your female dog needs a C-section.
Doc Truli and every emergency veterinarian knows all too well the tragedy of a complicated, unplanned canine pregnancy. Usually, the human family either did not have the finances or the understanding to prevent their dog from becoming pregnant. Now, if she cannot bear her puppies by herself, she and the puppies will die without expensive emergency surgery!
[Warning:shocking story; skip if squeamish. Continue at brackets a few paragraphs down.]
Spay your female dogs. Do not find yourself in this situation:
A couple found their Beagle unable to pass a stuck puppy through her birth canal. Not having money for a veterinarian, and guessing their dog might die if they didn’t remove the puppies she was carrying, the husband and wife held their own dog down on her back and used a kitchen knife to incise her belly. They pulled the dead puppies from her uterus and found sewing thread to sew her up. All with no painkillers or anesthesia of any kind!
The veterinarian discovered this horrible circumstance when they called for help the following day because their Beagle was bleeding and feverish. (Of course.). Somehow, one day after performing the dog torture, they had enough money to pay to have the whole surgery and clean-up redone and the ruptured uterus and infected abdomen cleaned out.
Doc Truli was not the attending. (I do not know what I would have done about those people! In some states a vet is required to report cruelty to animals. In other states, reporting is voluntary so as not to discourage people from seeking veterinary care in the first place.)
[If you did the squeamish skip, continue reading here.]
2. Your dog or cat needs orthopedic, neurologic, or oncologic surgery
You may do everything right: keep your pet on the thin side, feed high quality ingredients, maybe even omega fatty supplements and vitamins. If your beloved breaks a leg, suffers an accident, slips an intervertebral (back) disc, or needs surgery to remove cancer, you could be faced with knowing you have to leave your pet suffering just for lack of enough money to cover a Specialist’s bills.
Many people where I live in Miami come from all over the world–Miami is the city with the most immigrants of any city in the world-and they cannot comprehend how pricey medicine in America can be! After all, many countries provide free University education and frankly, many have unqualified or technician-level veterinary degrees. We know this because many professionals from training in other countries find the sheer volume and depth of knowledge needed to pass the United States Veterinary National Board examination daunting or requiring extra years of study, even after they have earned their degree and practiced many years in their home country.
So yes, the medicine can get expensive for the average family. But veterinary medicine on America, while being on the cutting edge of biosecurity, technology, and one-health medicine, still costs 10% of the comparable procedure for people in the U.S. Your cats and dogs pay a bargain price!
Veterinary medicine on America, while being on the cutting edge of biosecurity, technology, and one-health medicine, still costs 10% of the comparable procedure for people in the U.S.
3. Your dog gets an esophageal stricture
What is this, you say? Well, it is a horrible condition that can happen to anyone. For one dog Doc Truli treated, it all started when she ate a shoe. Even though the shoe was readily removed with an endoscopic camera grabber device (no surgery), the pooch had vomited stomach acid enough times to erode through her esophagus in a ring around the inner side of the whole thing.
A badly damaged esophagus might form contractive scar tissue, especially if the eroded, ulcerated, sore part rings the whole food tube. This scar tissue acts as if you tied a string around your esophagus and only liquids, or maybe nothing can get down your throat into the stomach. You would painfully starve to death!
The insurance part comes in like this: esophageal strictures are treatable with a procedure under anesthesia where an endoscope is snaked into the throat and a balloon device expanded to stretch and pop the scar tissue. Medicine is injected at the scar to discourage the same old tight scarring from coming right back. Sometimes 1 or 2 procedures does the trick. They cost about $2,000 to $2,500 EACH! Some dogs need….thirteen procedures until the throat heals.
Imagine the sheer cash standing between your dog and a normal life. Now imagine paying thousands of dollars (somehow) for one or two or three procedures, and your dog still can’t eat. Now you are faced with giving up, putting your dog down, or having your friend live with a permanent indwelling feeding tube in the side of the body. All for lack of extraordinary financial resources. This situation is sad and frustrating. If a decision to quit has to be made, many people cannot shake the feeling they’ve failed their family member. Insurance means you don’t have to make that decision until, depending on the policy limits, you’ve reached 3,000, 5,000, or even $10,000 in bills (Trupanionpetinsurance.com).
As of February, 2010, Trupanion has a promotion through your veterinarian. Your vet examines your pet that is 8 wks- 1 year old. They sign the form and note if anything abnormal as found in the physical. Then you take the promo code from the form and enter it at the top right hand corner of the site for a free 30 days of insurance, with no obligation to buy! If you want to buy before the thirty day trial is up, you re-enter the code before the month is up! As a veterinarian, I like this promotion because it encourages more pet parents to overcome that initial indecision and sign up, but it is not an automatic enrollment, so it is not sneaky or tricky! Your vet can get the promo for free from Trupanion while they are still running it.
4. Your cat or dog acquires diabetic ketoacidosis
If your cat develops diabetes mellitus these days, you have up to an 80% cure rate with prompt, proper treatment. With a dog, diabetes management can mean years of fun times together. But, if your pet is so sick as to need intensive care, especially when the condition is first recognized by you and diagnosed by your veterinarian, this ICU care can cost between $1,000 and $1,500 per day for a week! Are you ready for that?
5. Your pet develops heart failure and needs continuous medication and monthly vet visits
Heart failure patients may stabilize for months or years. They may suffer crises a few times a year on top of their regular echocardiograms and check-ups. Many, many families try to treat their pet, but gaps in medication due to lack of money to buy refills on time, lack of money for proper follow-up care, and lack of funds for occasionally emergencies coupled with the knowledge-at least for some pets-that the heart may never be normal again, leads families to put their pet down.
Please note, for some reason no one understands, sometimes a cat’s heart muscle will heal and recheck echocardiograms prove normal function, even off of medication! So, sometimes that seemingly expensive recheck means proof of a cure and no more need for daily medications! What a present when that happens!
6. Your new puppy gets parvovirus and/or pneumonia
Always have a new puppy or kitten checked out. If problems exist, you may have compensation rights depending on your state laws, and at least you will understand and get early treatment for any problems.
HSUS Puppy Mills Frequently Asked Questions: beautiful, succinct review of frequently asked questions about puppy mills.
Sometimes a new family member arrives with bacteria or viruses and needs hospitalization to survive. If your new little one survives the initial illness, they can go on to live a normal, full life.
How many people scrape together funds to buy love, only to be tapped days layer when the little one needs expensive life-saving treatment? Veterinarians, even in a rich country like the United States see this almost every day. You can sign up for health insurance even before you pick up your four-legged bundle of fuzzy joy! Many Humane Societies now offer “Shelter Care.“. This is a limited, but effective insurance policy for the top, common ailments for the first thirty days home. Most helpful!
7. Your cat needs a kidney transplant
Yes, young, otherwise healthy cats are candidates for renal (kidney) transplant. For example, if your cat licks antifreeze or eats Lilly plants and sustains sudden kidney shut-down. If you could say “yes” to a transplant, instead of saying goodbye forever, wouldn’t that feel good?
8. Your puppies eat your medication. And you have four puppies. And you don’t know which one did it.
This may sound silly, bit emergency vets often see a family where to cat spills a bottle of say, for example, Rimadyl, or Tylenol, or Xanax, or diet pills, or whatever, and the dogs get into it. I feel bad for a family when they are faced with a bill for three large Labrador retrievers to have their stomachs pumped, lab tests, intravenous fluids, activated charcoal, and recheck tests. This could easily cost $800 or more Per Dog! What an awful accident!
9. Several of your pets gets sick at the same time (same idea, another creative way to get there!)
What if one dog is drinking and urinating too much, and his father, who is two years older is urinating blood and straining to pee? You know whatever expenses one dog incurs, you’re probably looking at double. Think this is far-fetched? I saw this situation last weekend. I made a plan for one dog and the family took him home while they “think about it.” Probably they had him put down at the animal shelter anonymously and free. How sad for them and their dogs. I wish everyone could get pet insurance so they do not have to face heartbreak like that!
10. You have awful luck and something stupid and expensive happens to your pet–three times in a row!
My friends’ Dalmation, Spotty Scotty, jumped in the pool like he did ten or more times a day. Only this time, for some reason unknown to me, his paws hit bottom. He snapped all the paw ligaments in the backs of his ankles. So he hobbled painfully with his feet sunken to the floor for the ten minutes it took them to get him in to see me.
We fixed Spotty with metal plates to fuse his ankles so he could walk (we cannot successfully rebuild ligaments and tendons in dogs at the specialists by me). Spotty needed to stay in two identical front leg hard casts for 8 weeks. Expensive and traumatic as that surgery was, here’s the catch: Spotty jumped into the pool two more times while he was casted. Soaked casts need replacement, with the pet under general anesthesia each time. Luckily, he finally healed. The whole process took 5 months, instead of two, and cost three times as much as expected, because of, well, “special luck.”
See the Rottweilers and the Porcupine for another example of dogs getting into the same expensive dilemma over and over again!
Think of Pet Insurance as a Necessity
Do Not Get Caught Up in Indecision; There is No Perfect Plan!
Insure yourself against the unexpected. After you’ve read these stories, it’s a little less unexpected, isn’t it? Our pets will need “Black Swan” insurance after all; Doc Truli can’t teach you everything she’s seen, and she hasn’t seen everything possible!
***My favorite pet insurance is Trupanion. My reasons are:
- major medical and accident coverage $10,000 per incident; $20,000 lifetime
- choose your deductible and therefore, premium
- no age limits
- no breed exclusions
- 90% back after deductible
- pays as quickly as 4 hours
- multipet plans
- go to any licensed veterinarian, emergency room, or specialist (not a club or buying group)
- American Animal Hospital Association approval
What you will not get:
- coverage for routine care such as vaccines
Insure Your Relationship With Your Pet Today!
*For you philosophy buffs who don’t already know, the highly improbable, unthinkable, unimaginable, and thus, unplannable may be called “A Black Swan.” See Nicholas Taub’s book of the same name at his website called “fooled by randomness.”
Doc Truli’s Version of the Black Swan Phenomenon of Human Nature and the Denial of Reality
So the story goes:
“Everyone” thought that swans were white. Everyone academic and living and working in Europe for hundreds of years believed that swans only came in white. “No one” (that they knew, anyway) had ever seen any swan other than a white swan. So the rule was: swans are white. This would be like growing up on a farm where all the Labrador Retrievers were yellow. You could make a rule and say that “all Labrador Retrievers are yellow” because in your world, they all are! Then you visit a friend’s farm when you are about 5, and are allowed to go visiting, and up bounds your friend’s black labrador for some socializing with your visiting yellow labrador. “Hey, you got your yellow in my black! Well, you got your black in my yellow!” Not only were chocolate labrador puppies born, but no one knew what color to upholster their furniture from that fateful visit forward.
One day, year, whatever–somebody academic from Europe visited Australia “for the first Time.” (You know how these academics like to own certain places and times-they stamp their point of view POV on the whole reality and declare the case and the countercase as if no one actually lived and philosophized in Australia ever before.) I digress. Pardon me.
So, this European, maybe British, whatever, saw a … black swan! “What the….” “Maybe it’s some other bird…” “No, it definitely resembles a swan in every way, except all swans are white.” Well, not anymore, buddy! The recognition of one…single…black…swan, changed the rule forever. No longer were all swans white. This one solitary (well, they tend to mate for life, so the other black swan was hiding behind the branches of a weeping willow tree) changed the rule, forever. Now, I could challenge another “rule,” that nature abhors interracial couples! For, behold, a beautiful, coy white swan glides out from beneath the swaying weeping willow branches and integrates ornithology forever.
So, Doc Truli says, get insurance, because you never know when the chocolate swan is going to arrive and you will be covered, because the insurance company does not know about it in order to exclude it…yet!