Monday, 8 December 2014

Pets, Vets and Meds

Posted by Rosie

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
In comparison we never insured our previous dog so when she fell ill aged 10 years old we were left to stump up for a vet's bill again around the £1000 mark.  She survived and lived until a week before her 14th birthday.  We then sat down and did some calculations and worked out we probably paid out the same on vet's fees as we would have done on pet insurance over her 14 years.   With new medicines and advances in veterinary techniques there is every likelihood that our pets can live longer than a few years ago but we must pay heavily for this privilege.  I think it is very unlikely that a pet will not fall ill as it gets older or be injured at some point so whichever way you look at it, your pets are going to cost you a lot of money over their lives.

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. 


11 comments :

  1. No but, they do train for 7 years, are often called out at unsocial hours in unsocial weather in unsocial conditions to sometimes very ungrateful patients. Our vet is lovely, very gentle goes out of her way to solve problems and doesn't charge when I pop in with a question. x (and that is where you and I met!)

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    1. Oh I agree Jane, these do a fabulous job and have saved several of our animals. I also feel that here in France that they do not try to push every latest veterinary technique and/or medicine on to you with the small chance of prolonging your pet's life for a short while longer when actually the kindest thing to do is to let you pet go with dignity. And yes - great place for meeting friends!

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  2. As well as we'd gladly pay for medicines for our dear ones, we'd do the same for our friends with paws, don't you think? :)

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  3. Adore the first pic, so cute! ps. In my next life, I want to be a vet ;)

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  4. The huge expense of pets is one of the reasons we don't have any (along with allergies and travelling lots...) I honestly think we couldn't afford these sorts of fees.

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  5. Lucas says - We have Ash insured and when he was poorly and had to stay at the doggie hospital the vet was really kind to him.
    The Mother says - Insurance is definitely worth it in the long run. The problem was when we got Ash, he had the pre-existing injury form when he was beaten at the puppy farm. We got told by our insurers that they wouldn't insure for hip dysplacia but when we explained what Ash's situation was, the lady on the other end of the phone was lovely and spoke to her supervisor. They agreed to waive this situation and should he require treatment as he gets older, they will cover the costs. We were so grateful :) #animaltales

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  6. We would never consider not insuring Ash (see the KG comment for the reason). It's gotten a bit more expensive over the years but he's certainly worth it xx #animaltales

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    1. We would certainly ensure in the UK but it is just so rare to do here in France.

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  7. I've always been lucky with Stella's vets and her insurance has always been expensive but worth it. She costs more to insure now than my house and contents and car all put together but just one MRI when they were diagnosing her epilepsy was £2000 **gulp** The medications that don't need prescriptions I get online for her. #animaltales

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