GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (April 3, 2014) – Most pet owners treat their dog or cat as a member of the family. When their pet’s health starts to fail it’s only natural to want to do anything you can to help.
For 11 years Ashley Young and her chocolate lab Bailey, have been inseparable and aside from a little allergy issue the relationship has been problem free. Recently however, Bailey started to lose his appetite and stopped acting like his normal self.
It wasn’t until this time Young started to wish she had purchased pet insurance for Bailey.
“You don’t hear anyone talk about pet insurance,” said Young. “It’s car insurance, life insurance, home insurance.”
A week ago, pet insurance never crossed her mind.
“We noticed that he started not to eat, really tired, lethargic,” she said. “We thought we needed to get him in and get him checked out because this isn’t him. He’s a spunky dog.”
She took Bailey to the vet and was told her dog needed a $900 blood transfusion. She paid but Bailey’s condition didn’t improve.
When Young spoke with the vets they laid out the worst case scenario, euthanasia.
“I’m like, I hear the word, just the word and I’m like… it’s not an option. I can’t do it,” she said.
Not wanting to give up on Bailey, Young sought out other options. She solicited help on Facebook. A vet tech heard her story and made a house call.
“She did the ultrasound and came up with a theory that it was cancer of the spleen,” Young said.
She was told the ultrasound would normally cost around $800. It was given to her at a discount.
She made a third trip to a third professional and received a third diagnosis and spent hundreds more on steroids.
Dr. Stephen Comer the owner of Animal Emergency Hospital on Plainfield Avenue said the conversation of pet insurance should start on the initial visit with a vet.
He said unlike insurance for people which can cover preventative medical treatments, typical pet insurance covers costs that mount up as a result of a catastrophic events.
“As with many things in life, something planned for is a lot better managed than something not planned for,” Dr. Comer said. “The key is to have that conversation before there is a need.”
Young said she is sharing her story now as a warning to other pet parents.
“It would have been worth it,” she said. “It was around a $22 a month expense. I without a doubt would have gotten it.”
Even if Young had pet insurance there is no guarantee all her treatments would be covered. Dr. Comer said it’s a good idea to talk over the various policies as soon as you can to decide if it’s a right fit for you.
Even with insurance you still have to pay for the treatments then insurance companies will reimburse you.