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An Emergency Vet Bill Left Me with Sticker Shock

I Wasn't Prepared for a Pet Emergency

The definition of an emergency is “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.” Due to its very nature, there is no way to plan for an emergency; they can happen at any time, regardless of age or relative well-being. This is true for humans and pets.

Yet, out of the estimated 85 million Americans who own pets, only 2.82 million choose to purchase pet insurance in case of emergencies. Many might regret the decision to forgo pet insurance when they receive an outrageous vet bill for treatment.

We’ve collected a few examples of real-life dog owners who experienced sticker shock when faced with a pet health emergency. Who better to tell you all the reasons why pet insurance is a sound investment than a pet parent?

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Protect Your Wallet from Genetic Conditions

Adam Price and his family had thought about pet insurance multiple times, even getting quotes from several different companies. Ultimately, however, they decided against it. Just a few months later, they regretted their decision.

“Sydney, our Goldendoodle, ended up with Addison’s disease, which can be extremely pricey. It cost us over $10,000 in vet visits, emergency vet stays, and an ongoing prescription,” says Price.

Addison’s disease is a rare condition that affects the adrenal glands. As part of the endocrine system, the adrenal glands control hormones that impact appetite, metabolism, and blood pressure. When animals have Addison’s disease, they are at risk of experiencing severe health crises, including going into shock. The disease is very rare in dogs and highly uncommon in cats, but you never know if your pet will be one of the few impacted.

Although it has taken years, Price and his family have finally gotten Sydney’s health under control, but have an expensive stack of veterinary bills as a result.

Even Puppies Have Health Problems

After moving across the country 8 years ago, Brendan Heffernan decided to adopt a new dog. He named her Annie, and loved that she got along so well with his other dog. But after three days in her new home, little Annie got extremely sick.

“I came home on lunch break to find puke everywhere in the house,” recalls Heffernan. “As soon as I saw Annie, she puked again. I rushed her to the vet to find out she had Parvo. I had never heard of it before, but the vet informed me that it was pretty serious and would take intense treatment to get her over it.”

Parvovirus is a serious condition that often infects unvaccinated puppies, attacking the gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow, and even the heart muscle tissue. Annie’s treatment involved overnight stays at the vet hospital, which weren’t cheap.

“It took about 5 days of treatment and monitoring before Annie came out healthy. I was glad she was ok, but I wasn't happy about the vet bill, which came to $1300,” says Heffernan. “On the bright side, she is still alive and is the best dog ever!”

Many people think that only senior dogs are capable of racking up high veterinary bills, but puppies can also get seriously ill. Choosing to purchase pet insurance the day that you bring your puppy home can help protect your bank account and provide you with the best monthly premium rates.

Extra Consideration for Large Breeds

Danielle Muehlenberg is a dog behaviorist and blogger. Although she has never personally had any outrageous vet bills, she has witnessed clients experience a range of unfortunate, high-cost situations.

“Pet insurance is worth the investment, especially for large breeds that have known issues like hip dysplasia, cherry eye, or adventurers that are prone to have accidents,” says Muehlenberg.

Hip dysplasia is a common condition in large breed dogs that stems from abnormal development of the hip joint and leads to weakened, arthritic hips. Breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia, however, environmental factors, such as diet, exercise, and rate of growth, can also contribute to the development of the condition.

Emergency Coverage

Sharene Mariner likes to err on the side of caution, so when a groomer told her that her dog seemed to have a swollen back leg, she didn’t want to take any chances.

“The groomer didn’t want to continue with service, and suggested that I take him over to a nearby vet,” recalls Mariner. “An exam was done, tests were done, an x-ray was done. He was then sent to his primary vet where blood work was done. All to tell me in the end that they could not find anything that was necessarily wrong with him!”

Since he was also behaving normally, Mariner was told that his leg was simply built that way. After all was said and done, she ended up with a bill of about $700, just to be told that her dog was fine.

The Importance of Pet Insurance

As you can see, the curveballs that life can throw at you as a dog parent can get very expensive. The best way to protect yourself from receiving a nightmare vet bill is to invest in pet insurance sooner rather than later. Get your pet insurance quote from PetPartners today!

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