It's a touchy subject here at Wings and Paws Rescue, because whilst we appreciate that the cost of operations and medication for our animals is astronomical, we're also very aware that these costs are NOT the vet's fault and are not inflated to line the vet's pockets but are what it really costs to purchase from the pharmaceuticals and for all the equipment used.
Now, what we really want to talk about is preparing for these costs...
It's all well and good saving up thousands to buy your dream puppy - or applying to adopt a rescue dog.... but what happens when things go wrong? Can you afford those unexpected vet bills? Are you able to pay the monthly medication costs should the condition be ongoing? We're not exaggerating when we say we regularly pay operation costs of around £5,000 - in Izzy's case it was over £11,000 to get her well!
So what can you do?
Well the obvious first step is to get insurance... and don't be tempted by cheap quotes either... look for the best you can afford, because the more you pay, the more (hopefully) they'll pay out. Lifetime cover, for as much as possible is best. (Personally I pay around £150 a MONTH for pet insurance for 3 dogs). It's important to remember that insurance won't cover existing conditions and there are also some breed prominent conditions that won't be covered either.
What do we mean by breed prominent?
Well they are conditions that are very common in certain breeds - for example in Dachshunds it's IVDD (spinal issues), for Bulldogs it's BOAS (breathing problems), for Labradors it's hip problems, for Great Danes it's DCM (heart conditions) etc etc - each breed has common health concerns - and a lot of insurers won't cover this if your dog becomes ill.
This takes us to step two - Savings or alternative payment options.
You might want to have a savings pot put aside, especially for these issues (or for when you have to pay the vet upfront and claim insurance back at a later date) - or you could get a credit card and keep it purely to cover vet bills (remember, you'll need to pay this back... so make sure you can afford the repayments), whatever option you choose, you need to have a pot of money hidden away for those unexpected costs, because unfortunately, no vet is going to treat your pet for free, or allow you to pay at a later time!
Hopefully you'll see this post as it is intended - advice from one set of animal lovers to another. We've been inundated lately with people asking for help as they cannot afford the vet bills - two in one week so far! We're not judging anyone and lord knows it breaks our hearts too when we can't help or when we see people handing over their beloved family member because they're doing the right thing by the animal and getting them help. Maybe, just maybe we can help by helping people prepare for the worst case scenario.
The majority of the time our pets live happy carefree lives and these emergency measures are not needed - but there will always come a time when you're going to need them, and believe us... you'll be glad you prepared in advance!