The Embrace Pet Insurance phones were broken and now are fixed!

UPDATE: looks like things are fixed now. Let us know if you are having trouble calling in (via email of course :) )

The hamsters are working overtime behind the scenes checking every connection and we'll be up as soon as possible. In the meantime, I think the cat has found the problem...

Feel free to email us at and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Laura Bennett
CEO & Chief Embracer
Embrace Pet Insurance

Guest Post: Chewbacca the cat teaches an expensive financial lesson

Nicole Fende helps her business clients reach their profit goals and learn how to effectively and enjoyably run the financial side of their business. She tell us here how she discovered that one small cat can become a costly member of the family, one that sneaks up on you and your finances one vet visit at a time.

Chewbacca mixed breed cat
Meet Chewbacca, the most expensive cat I’ve ever owned (or will own!).  Chewbacca, or Chewie as we usually call him, was adopted as a kitten from a feral cat rescue organization.  As responsible pet owners we did everything we thought we were supposed to do.

Chewie has all his shots, he’s been neutered, and he receives monthly doses of flea medication even though both he and our other cat don’t go outside.

Everything was great for six years.  Chewie is a friendly cat, who adapted well when we added a puppy to the mix four years ago.  (Despite being 70+ pounds, our Irish Setter knows that Chewie is in charge).  His patience with our daughter, who is now three, is nothing short of amazing.

However 18 months ago Chewie started having problems.  Although he’d never had problems with hairballs in the past, suddenly he was throwing up all the time.  It got so bad he was puking up
blood.  Obviously we were concerned and I brought him into the vet.

So began a round of visits and expenses that I would never have expected. Here’s my expensive lesson, and the (thankfully) happy solution so that Chewie is getting back to a healthy weight and not throwing up anymore.

Vet Visit #1

While the vet thought it was just hairballs, he recommended some testing and an injection. 

  • Total cost $144.72
  • Result – Switch Chewie to a different food and comb him every week (Hairball Control)

Vet Visit #2

Two months later we were back at the vet with the same issues, plus the concern that Chewie was losing weight.  More tests, shots and some medicine. 

  • Total cost $210.24
  • Result – Try yet another food, and keep combing him (Sensitive Stomach)

Vet Visit #3

Chewie continued to deteriorate, losing weight and showing no interest in food. Concerned that he may have swallowed something that was lodged inside, we went back again.  This time for a Radiograph,

  • Total cost $267.50
  • Result – Nothing lodged in there.  Hey let’s try yet another food (wet food for sensitive  stomach), and keep combing him.

Vet Visit #4

While the throwing up had leveled off, Chewie was still losing weight. We brought him in again, and the vet raised the possibility that Chewie either had a food allergy or IBS (yes cats can have Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

  • Total Cost - $75.50
  • Result – Weigh in, weight loss was slowing down.  Switch to RX wet food for sensitive stomachs.

Vet Visit #5

Chewie was not eating the wet food, unheard of for our formally rotund kitty. His weight loss was becoming critical, with his hip bones sticking out.  I really began to fear he was not going to make it.  Back to the vet again, this time for testing to determine if it might be a few other types of illnesses.

  • Total Cost - $318.51
  • Result – Good news was that Chewie was negative for a lot of really nasty things.  Bad news, the vet was fairly certain he had at least a food allergy to the common ingredients in cat food.  Switched him to a dry cat food available only by RX, formulated from rabbit.

Vet Visit #6

Chewie loved the rabbit, and seemed to be responding.  Then the manufacturer discontinued the rabbit flavor. The other flavors did not appeal (although they certainly left a big dent in our check book!).  Back to the vet again to make sure he was really absorbing nutrients properly and to discuss other food options.

  • Total Cost – $228.22
  • Result – Good news, Chewie’s nutrient levels were all normal!  Now we just needed to
    find a food that would appeal to him, and not upset his tummy.

After more trial and error (read money and cat puke), we determined that the best food for Chewie was a combination of wet food from AvoDerm (Tuna & Crab Meat is the favorite) plus dry food from
Blue Wilderness (Duck). 

In the past 18 months our expenses for Chewie’s health issues were $1,244.69.  That doesn’t count regular care costs or all the food we bought but couldn’t use. 

Lesson Learned

The first lesson I learned was not to give up.  While a cat with stomach problems is far from fun or easy, with all the different options available today, there is bound to be one that will work for you.

The second lesson I learned was to buy pet insurance.  That’s why I can say with certainty he will be the most expensive cat I’ll ever own.

About Nicole

Nicole Fende is The Numbers Whisperer™ and President of Small Business Finance Forum.  As a credentialed actuary with experience as a Chief Financial Officer, Investment Banker, and successful entrepreneur, Fende helps her clients reach their profit goals and learn how to effectively and enjoyably run the financial side of their business. In her book, How to be a Finance Rock Star, Nicole
shares the same strategies she uses for her profit coaching clients to help them reach multi-platinum profits.

Fluffy Sighting&How to be a Finance Rock Star!

I don't normally stray too much from pet health and pet insurance discussions in this blog, but since I passionately believe business leaders need to understand the financials of their businesses to be successful, I don't mind the sidebar in this case.

Nicole Fende
Nicole Fende helps small businesses reach their profit goals and learn how to effectively and enjoyably run the financial side of their business. Nicole also happens to be an actuary and we met when she recruited me to talk in a webinar and then panel discussion on how actuaries can follow the Society of Actuaries Code of Conduct when changing actuarial careers (I know, riveting stuff, but we were the most lively panel at the AGM - we know how to have fun)

Nicole has written a book How to be a Finance Rock Star! which I recommend to anyone starting up a new business or trying to kickstart growth in their current business. Definitely go buy the book (disclosure: the only benefit I get from recommending Nicole's book is good actuarial karma, which is worth a lot in my book).

In the meantime, Nicole is running a fun contest as part of her book launch to find Fluffy. Fluffy is Nicole's cat so very appropriate for the Embrace Pet Insurance blog to be hosting :)

Here are the details:

Don’t miss your chance to win a copy of Nicole Fende’s new book How to be a Finance Rock Star! All you have to do is help Nicole find Fluffy the Finance Feline, who is currently MIA, gallivanting around the globe.  Check out the hints below and submit your answer for Fluffy’ s current hereabouts before today’s midnight deadline -

Hint #1: Located in Egypt

Hint #2: Mythical beast of ancient Egypt with the head of a man and the body of a lion

Go to to submit your guess on Fluffy’s location in this picture for a chance to win a copy of How to be a Finance Rock Star and a VIP Pass to the virtual book launch cocktail party on February 23rd.  To be eligible, your entries for this #FluffySighting must be submitted no later than midnight February 23rd Central Standard Time.

No Purchase Required. Void Where Prohibited. Read Official Rules Here.

Welcome to those of you new to Embrace Pet Insurance - please feel free to introduce yourself in the comments.

If you are interested in learning more about Embrace, I recommend the following pages:

Get a pet insurance quote

What Embrace policies cover

What Embrace policies do not cover

About Embrace, including our core values and our customer bill of rights

There's a lot more over at the Embrace Pet Insurance site so take a browse around the site. Nice to meet you!






Update on Pancho's experience with teeth cleaning

If you had been able to listen to Dr Patrick's and my podcast on pet dental health questions, you would have heard us answering Arthur's question about his dog Pancho:

Arthur R asks "My Embraced dog, Pancho, has a small mouth and does not like having his teeth brushed. No matter how I try, he squirms and twists his way out of daily brushing. How can I get
him to look forward to daily dental hygiene?"

In Patrick's answer, we challenged Arthur to try out some of Patrick's suggestions, perhaps with a video or two for the before and after effect and he took the challenge.

We don't have any videos to show you yet, but Arthur did send this update:

Pancho has been getting his teeth “brushed” daily since we started this project. Pancho no longer minds that my fingers are in his mouth, but we have not yet graduated to a comfort level with a real toothbrush.

For Doggie Dental Awareness month, Dr.  Kitteh, DDS, is licking the plaque and tartar from this dog’s molars in the attached photo.

Doggie Dental Inspection

Can't wait to see the video Arthur!

Related Posts:
February is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: video of a veterinarian cleaning dog teeth
Make 101 dollars on your pet's dental cleaning
Guest Post: your pet dental questions with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Claim Example: Tooth Fracture in a Golden Retriever
Update on Pancho's experience with teeth cleaning

Claim Example: Tooth Fracture in a Golden Retriever

Continuing our focus on Pet Dental Health Month, here's a claim for Corona, a 6 year old Golden Retriever living in Blackwood NJ, who cracked some of his teeth. Note that dental accidents are covered in the basic accident and illness policy. Dental illness is covered in the optional Dental Rewards coverage.

I don't know exactly how the accident happened, but poor Corona was also treated for anxiety as well. Poor pup, I hope the anxiety didn't cause the broken teeth.

10/18/2011 Emer Exam $126.00 AC $126.00
10/18/2011 Buprenorphine Inj $31.91 AC $31.91
10/18/2011 Rimadyl x 20 $42.10 PD $42.10
10/18/2011 Cephalexin x 20 $20.75 PD $20.75
10/18/2011 Tramadol x 32 $20.75 PD $20.75
10/18/2011 Fluids Set Up $104.75 AC $104.75
10/18/2011 CBC $72.40 AC $72.40
10/18/2011 Health Profile $140.80 AC $140.80
10/18/2011 Lytes Panel $65.60 AC $65.60
10/19/2011 Cefazolin Inj $22.75 AC $22.75
10/19/2011 Valium Inj $22.75 AC $22.75
10/19/2011 Propofol Inj $25.16 AC $25.16
10/19/2011 Anes- Inhalant $239.25 AC $239.25
10/19/2011 Teeth Extractions $200.00 AC $200.00
10/21/2011 Exam-Follow Up $33.00 AC $33.00
10/21/2011 Fluoxetine x 90 $15.99 PD $15.99
10/21/2011 Discount ($69.70)   ($69.70)
10/21/2011 Tax $5.85   $5.85
Total   $1,120.11   $1,120.11

Corona pays a monthly premium of $26.90 for a $500 annual deductible (that had already been met from prior claims), a $5,000 annual maximum, an 80% reimbursement percentage and prescription drug (PD) coverage so the payout went like this:

STEP 1: Calculate Potential Refund
  Billed Amount:               $1,120.11
  Covered Charges:             $1,120.11
  Annual deductible remaining           $0.00
  subtotal           $1,120.11
  Copay 20%  (your copayment)            $224.02
Potential Refund                $896.09
STEP 2: Compare potential refund against your annual maximums
     Annual Maximum             $5,000.00
     Prior refunds for this policy year           $207.97
     Coverage remaining           $4,792.03
Your total refund is:             $896.09

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