Everyone must surely have heard the truism "A pet is for life, not just for Christmas." Poppy our Labrador came into our lives at Christmas 9 years ago but she was not a present. We had been looking for a dog to replace our previous Black Lab for a few months and Poppy happened to turn up at Battersea just before Christmas. Going to get her is Tom's first memory and Ben can never remember us not having her. She is definitely a part of our family.
|Poppy and the boys|
In England we took out Pet Insurance for her and boy are we glad we did ... within a short space of time she had gashed her leg twice, torn her paw open and needed investigations to the tune of over £1000 to work out why she kept wetting herself. We were every insurers worst nightmare. She also needs lifelong medicine to stop the wetting accidents at nearly £30 a bottle. At the time a bottle lasted around 5 months but as she has got older we have had to increase the dose and it now only lasts 3 months. In France Pet Insurance is not so common and I doubt any company would pay out on a lifelong pre-existing condition so we have to pay for this ourselves. This lack of insurance is in part counter balanced by cheaper French veterinary costs, with her medicine only costing 26€ (£20) per bottle and trips to the vet being cheaper. Still expensive though.
|A baby Tom and a very accommodating old dog|
This is certainly very true of Henry, one of our cats. A few months ago he fitted badly and tests revealed his kidneys function was raised. The vet recommended specialist food which worked fine for a while, although once again this ate into our pockets as it is expensive. Interestingly though it is MUCH cheaper in the UK than in France so that does help a bit. After quite a time of no fits he was having trouble walking and we initially thought he had been in a fight with The Nasty Cat, a feral cat who comes here and beats up whichever of our poor cats is in his path. On a previous occasion he had fought with Henry resulting in a very badly swollen paw that untreated could have given him septicaemia as the poison was so deep it had no way of escaping. However a bit of internet research showed his inability to walk properly was more than likely a side effect of his renal failure and this was confirmed by the vet. Henry now has daily medicine (very new on the market) which has sorted out his dodgy gait ... but costs us 36€ a bottle. We have managed to reduce the dose to half but that still means a bottle only lasts 2 months.
|Henry trying to hide!|
So is there a moral to this little animal tale? Yes,there is. Pets are are wonderful and can enrich our lives no end but they can also empty our pockets very quickly and have you ever seen a poor vet?*
*Edited to add that I think vets are wonderful, especially in France. They work tirelessly to save our animals and know when to let our pets go with their dignity still intact.