Financial Planning for Pet Emergencies

Photo: Missy M.

Are You Prepared?

Even if you are the most responsible pet owner and do everything possible to keep your pets healthy, there is always a possibility that your pet could develop an unexpected illness or become accidentally injured. An unplanned trip to the veterinarian can be very expensive, so it’s important to have a financial plan in place if this happens.

Recently, a friend’s dog began limping. She waited a few days, and when the limp didn’t get any better, she took Tucker to the vet. Unfortunately, Tucker was going to need surgery to remove a tumor on his leg joint. The cost? Maybe $1000 – possibly $3000 depending on how difficult it would be to remove. 

According to Dr. Jason Nicholas of Preventive Vet, “Many pet owners still don’t understand how expensive it can be to treat an unexpected illness or injury.”  He lists some actual pet emergencies and the costs associated with treatment:

  • Cat bite abscess (cat): $1,250
  • Hit-by-car (dog): $5,600
  • Urethral obstruction (cat): $2,700
  • Toxin ingestion (ate mushrooms, dog): $6,500
  • Heatstroke (dog): $4,200
  • Gastrointestinal foreign body surgery (ate a diaper, dog): $3,275
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (pancreatitis, dog): $3,000
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis (cat): $4,600
  • Back surgery for ruptured disc (dog): $5,600

As Dr. Nicholas points out, these are just,”a few examples of actual emergency costs, and though many emergencies have a lower price tag, plenty have a higher one, as well. It’s important to consider how you would handle such situations before they happen to one of your pets – doing so will not only allow you to be more emotionally prepared, but better financially prepared as well.”

Financial Options:

There are lots of financial options to consider when you have a sick pet, but the following are the most popular.

  1. Credit Cards: These can be very helpful in your time of need; however, be careful of the interest rate and credit limits.
  2. Line of Credit: A health care line of credit can help in an emergency situation, but read the fine print carefully. The two most popular health care line of credit options are listed below.
  3. Pet Insurance: This is truly the best form of financial risk management. Just like with people, when an emergency happens, much of the unexpected costs are covered.Based on Dr. Nicholas’ experience he recommends three pet insurance companies (listed below in alphabetical order).Embrace pet insurance
    Petplan pet insurance
    Trupanion pet insurance

    Regardless of which financial plan you choose, considering these options, before you may actually need them, will give you peace of mind should a tragedy strike.

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