Sometimes little things

cost the most

Life comes at you fast, as they say, and that’s definitely the case when popping down to the vet for what seems like a minor ailment only to leave with a bill higher than anticipated.

That’s because small things can be harbingers of more serious ailments, on the one hand. On the other, sometimes sorting a niggly issue requires a ton of work from the vet and/or costly medications. Whatever the case, there’s one certainty: when visiting the vet, dealing with a significant expense is never fun.

“Some of our members have had just this experience,” says Michelle Le Long, Chief Operating Officer at pet insurance specialist PD Insurance. “However, with our pet policies covering many of the little – and big – things, large personal expenses are often averted. And that’s the whole reason to cover your fur kids: whether the medical attention they need is large or small, you want a financial safeguard to cover much of it so you can focus on their recovery.”

Surprise! Unexpected vet bills from minor symptoms

Case study 1

For one PD member, things quickly escalated when they took their cat in with a sore foot. What seemed like a simple problem – perhaps a thorn – turned out to be a nail bed infection. What started as a likely $70 quick visit wound up with an eventual bill of over $2,000.

The cat owner would’ve been shocked, but they had thought ahead; supported by a fast and painless insurance claims process, the purr was put back into kitty with a rapid recovery.

Case study 2

For another pet parent, a problematic paw on their boisterous Labradoodle soon turned into a crisis of considerable proportions. That’s because the poor pup had a fractured toe.

This seemingly minor injury racked up a cost of nearly $8,000. Luckily, our pet parent had taken the necessary precautions with medical pet cover and only needed to pay one small excess payment across the many vet bills for this claimable event. The cheeky wee dog got the medical attention required for its accident and is back on a sure footing.

Case study 3

The proud parent of a fine Rottweiler was understandably concerned when the pooch started showing minor signs of discomfort. A quick trip to the vet led to a raft of tests, eventually revealing joint sepsis.

While the treatment setting the pup right didn’t cost much – a mere course of antibiotics – diagnosing the problem took a ton of effort. The eventual cost? More than $2,000. But with insurance cover, they were given a soft landing and only paid one small excess.

A word from the vet

Rotorua vet and TV personality Stacey Tremain (The Pet Vet) notes that small symptoms are often where most larger issues start, saying, “Skin diseases are the pin up for these sorts of cases. We often see cats or dogs coming in with something seemingly minor, like a moist or sticky patch that doesn’t look too nice.”

The usual approach taken by the pet parent is the application of an allergy or anti-inflammatory cream, then “when that doesn’t work, it’s off to the vet.”

There, he says, the initial assessment might involve a smear and a gander under the microscope in search of evidence of parasites or yeasts. “If that’s negative, we progress to a biopsy involving surgery and anaesthetic, with a histology from the lab. And yes, this is where it can start to get expensive, even if the treatment turns out to be a $20 course of Prednisone – but you can’t prescribe the remedy until the problem is identified.”

Tremain says diagnoses can cost several hundred or even above a thousand dollars in tricky cases. “In addition to the costs, there’s the worry and mental stress for the pet owner of going from an initial itchy bite to what might be something as serious as cancer. And until we know, we can’t say one way or another.”

He’s clear on one thing, though. “Insurance for your pet’s health is brilliant as you won’t have any surprises. It’s especially good for people who like to budget.” Having practised in the UK, Tremain adds that pet parents there are more insured than those locally. “That meant the pet parents in England usually don’t have to deal with the money side of the equation, and that really softens the blow, whatever the diagnosis may be.”

Get the proper treatment, no matter the cost

Beyond the benefit of supporting accurate budgeting, pet insurance does something else invaluable for the pet parent: if you’re covered, you’ll be able to source the best and most appropriate treatment for your pet’s ailments.

“For many pet parents, the price of treatment is a real factor,” says Le Long. “Big bills can be crippling. With an insurance policy covering your pet’s health, depending on your level of cover, paying for your loved one’s vet bills is the one thing you won’t have to worry about.”

Media contact 

Leandri Smith – The Mail Room 
027 365 9003 | [email protected]