Pet Insurance – Is It Worth It?

Recently one of our K9 Pro friends, Nik, had a very harrowing (and expensive) trip to the emergency vet when her Finnish Lapphund, Ahsoka, was bitten by a Red-Bellied Black Snake. Nik has shared her experience with K9 Pro.

“I was doing some work in the garden when I found Ahsoka lying down and panting heavily. She was drooling and clearly distressed. Her eyes were dilated and her face was mildly swollen. I called her over and she didn’t move, which was unlike her. Even a piece of cheese was not enough to get her to stand up! Concerned she was displaying symptoms of a paralysis tick, I started checking her over but instead, noticed two small red dots on muzzle. I instantly though – snake.”

After transporting a very ill Ahsoka to the team at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH), the vets there confirmed Nik’s fear – Ahsoka had been bitten by a snake. A snake venom detection kit determined the bite was from a highly poisonous Red-Bellied Black Snake. “Ahsoka’s blood tests were very abnormal, with lengthened clotting times, reduced red blood cells and high muscle enzymes,” says Nik, “This meant that she was at risk of bleeding, her body was breaking down her red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body and that her muscles were also breaking down. If she was not treated she could either have a fatal bleed or her lungs may fail.” The vets gave Ahsoka intravenous fluids to protect her kidneys and started her first transfusion of antevenom, which costs $900 per vial.

However, although Ahsoka’s blood tests showed a mild improvement after receiving the first vial of antevenom, her red blood cells continued to drop and her muscle enzymes were still going up. She was given a second antevenom transfusion, but after two nights at the vet hospital, unfortunately Ahsoka was still only showing a mild improvement.

“The vet was trying to decide whether to give her a third vial of antevenom,” Nik tells us, “But decided to give Ahsoka some time to improve and by the morning her bloods had stabilised. She stayed another night at the vet hospital and was allowed to come home on Monday afternoon. For the next two weeks, Ahsoka is on strict crate rest to protect her muscles and kidneys and has to have regular check-ups with the vet.”

Ahsoka, thankfully recovering from her snake bite

Thankfully Ahsoka is now on the mend. And luckily for Nik, she has Pet Insurance. “All up, the ‘incident’ cost just under $5000,” she says. Nik’s pet insurance plan costs her $40 a month, and her recent experience has made all of us at K9 Pro seriously consider the benefits of pet insurance.

Do you have pet insurance? Do you think it’s worth having?

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  1. I do not think pet insurance is worth it.

    Toto used to have an all-inclusive super-duper pet insurance.
    In his first summer he got a bit of dust in his eye, which led to a conjunctivitis.
    After the excess, I claimed 30 bucks or so.
    The claim was rejected on the basis that ONE (out of 3 ) vets diagnosed that he MIGHT have an entopion eyelid.
    I didn’t make a fuss over 30 bucks.

    When the renewal policy came, it excluded ANY and ALL conditions in BOTH eyes!
    Several months of letter-writing, submitting lots of vet diagnosis that stated that he has absolutely normal and healthy eyes. Nope.
    Their argument is that the entropion eyelid that one vet saw was genetic, thus a pre-existing condition, and that on that basis they would exclude all future claims for both eyes.

    I cancelled the insurance. I am annoyed that I wasted over $500 on that first year. I am glad about the thousands of $$ I saved in insurance since then though. 😀

    My experience is: It’s a scam and whatever loophole they can possibly find, they wil screw you over. It is an insurance after all.
    If you have some savings or can put aside $50 or so a month, you are definitely better off without pet insurance.
    Pet insurances do not want to help you, they want to make money. Which means that at the end of the day, chances are that you will lose money, as compared to saving up the same amount yourself. :o(

    Toto is a service dog and I rely on him heavily. But I would rather run the low risk of paying 5-digit sums on vetbills, than certainly spending almost as much on insurance. 🙂
    If they can just put exclusions into a contract renewal, IMO, chances are you will get screwed over from one year into the other. And I thought human private insurances were a bit of a sham…… 🙁

    Glad Ahsoka is on the mend and insurance worked out great for her! 🙂

  2. You bet pet insurance is worth it.

    Working as a vet nurse I was going to write a long winded story on the pro and cons of pet insurance but I thought otherwise.

    My only comment is if you haven’t got some sort of saving’s plan or insurance for your pet your crazy.

    Glad Ahsoka is on the road to recovery :o)

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