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For those with pets: How do you afford medical care? Is Pet Insurance worth it?

Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, we suddenly became the owners of four new pets over the last year, two of which have required a lot of medical attention. I love the pets -- they are a part of our family now and we can't imagine our home without them, but I had no idea what kind of expenses were involved with having pets until this year and it's literally eating us out of house and home. Just today I had to bring the cat in for allergy treatment and the vet bill came to $300 - and that was just for this specific treatment. It didn't include her check up or any boosters she needs. I was supposed to bring the dog in as well for a routine visit and boosters, but there was no way I could afford that too. Years ago when pet insurance first came out, I heard it wasn't worth it and that it was a rip off or scam. I'm wondering if that's still true today and what other pet owners do to defray the cost of pet care.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 9:32 PM on Feb. 25, 2009 in Pets

Answers (8)
  • i thinkit is worth it i got mine for all of my out door pets and 3 months after someone shot one with a 45 and it cost use 2,00 at the vet and the insurance covered everything but $45 which was the vet doc appointment

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:36 PM on Feb. 25, 2009

  • We take it on a case by case basis, I guess. When expenses come up, we talk about it and decide what to do. For example, we get vaccines and check-ups, but we're putting off getting her teeth cleaned for awhile until we can afford it. We don't have the insurance. But we only have one pet so it's easier for us to manage. It's not necessarily a scam. Check into it online. It might be worth your while, given your situation. It's amazing how much those bills can add up. I had a cat with cancer a few years back and it was pricey. Thank goodness our vet was fantastic and cut us all kinds of deals on treatment and meds. I don't know know what we would have done otherwise. Put the cat down, I suppose.

    Answer by BlueFrogMama at 9:37 PM on Feb. 25, 2009

  • I don't have insurance on my guys and I'm not considering it. I did look into it and found it wouldn't save me anything. I applied for Care Credit,, and that allows me to break up my bills into monthly payments. You may have to switch vets because not all of them take it, but I had to and I adore my new vet.

    Answer by Deb_Jones at 5:06 AM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • just google pet insurance..thats what i did with my dog and all i would have to pay was $24 a month to have everything covered...while you're looking at quotes on these sites, make sure to put your zip code in so it will tell you which vet offices will except that insurance.

    Answer by tnteaton at 1:47 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • I budget $100 a month for my pets medical needs. BUT... I have some high maintenance pets too. 2 Chinese Shar Pei's require at least a visit to the vet every couple of months because they have issues and I have 5 birds.
    The cost of the insurance is more than the vet bills.

    Answer by SnoWhiteImages at 4:59 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • Routine care can actually be managed at home for a lot less. You can buy vaccinations at most farm or kennel supply stores. The only one the Vet has to give is Rabies.

    You can use Ivermectin cattle wormer (also from the farm store) in the broad spectrum dose (which is 1cc per 100lb) on a monthly basis as an inexpensive alternative to the monthly wormer your Vet sells you.

    You can also use the heartworm dose of Ivermectin, which is 1/10cc per 100lbs and couple that with liquid pyrantel for horses (more medicine per bottle) dosed at 4.54mg per 2lbs, for the dog breeds sensitive to Ivermectin. This is the same medicine combo as Heartguard tabs, but you will have enough to last years for the same price as 6 months of pills from the Vet.

    If you use Ivermectin, in the broad spectrum dose, faithfully every month, you can also skip the yearly heartworm test. There's no possible way that heartworm larvae can survive that dose.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:53 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • cont.........

    If you have a dog that has tested positive for heartworm, you can put the dog on the Ivermectin to kill the larvea and the adult worms will eventually die of old age. Your Vet won't tell you this because they want you to pay hundreds of dollars for the treatment to kill them all at once ( which has greater risk of clots and strokes from dead worms).

    My friend, who is a Vet, relayed this information to me. I trust that she knows what she's talking about.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:59 PM on Feb. 26, 2009

  • I had a Pot bellied pig and did not have insurance on him. He lived 14 years and when he hurt his right leg he became so uncomfortable and required surgery. He ended up getting sick and lost control of everything. I had to get him put to sleep which was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Wait, no, telling my kids he had passed was the hardest. anyways we now have a Beagle and right away got him insurance. It has worked out awesome for us and the bills are affordable. I would recommend it. Pets become part of the family.

    Answer by momofthree44 at 8:34 AM on Feb. 28, 2009

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