September 07, 2012
Continuing the theme for Pet Health Insurance Month, here's a story from Chrissy, one of the Veterinary Account Representatives at Embrace. I love seeing Bella in the office and had no idea of this story until today.
I have worked as a technician in the Cleveland, OH area for the past 10 years. While I always thought pet insurance was an excellent idea for clients, I never dreamed I would need it for myself. Being in the profession, getting a hefty staff discount, and having a whole bunch of great contacts in the field, I did not foresee the cost of veterinary care ever becoming a problem. I could not have been more wrong!
Rewind to Christmas Eve 2007. Bella, at the time a 2 year old pit mix, was always getting into things she wasn’t supposed to. She was obsessed with having things in her mouth so it didn’t surprise me when she vomited that morning. However, a few hours later come breakfast time, I started getting concerned when she was not interested in her food. She is a chow hound so that was very out of the ordinary.
As the day progressed, Bella really started to go downhill. She had vomited many times and it had that characteristic, foul, obstructed smell. I knew we were in trouble and as much as I wanted to try to make it wait a day and half until my hospital opened, I knew Bella needed immediate attention. Off to the emergency clinic we went.
After bloodwork and x-rays, it was determined it was either an obstruction or something irritating the bowels passing through. It was hard to tell exactly what was causing her symptoms as nothing was very clear or apparent on the x-rays. They hospitalized her, put her on IV fluids, gave appropriate medications, and decided to see what tomorrow would bring and hope whatever she ate would pass on its own.
She improved somewhat on Christmas morning (even chewed out her IV line 3 times!), but still didn’t want to eat and the improvement was very short lived. When I came to pick her up on December 26, I was told exploratory surgery was in her best interest. I took Bella to the hospital I worked at, as we were now open after the holiday to be opened up. The surgery was less than routine because there was not one object that was causing the problem! She was obstructed in multiple places with tons of hair! Yes, hair! The doctor had to open her stomach, pylorus, and small intestines in a 3.5 hour surgery. The copious amounts of hair had her poor intestines so inflamed that the doctor even felt it was necessary to biopsy, just in case.
So we think the worst is over……but not quite! Back to the ER we go with Bella that night due to complications with her protein levels being so low from not eating for 3 days. Fortunately, after another day of hospitalization and some more IV fluids, she was ready to eat and on the upswing within a few days.
After all was said and done, I paid over $2500 out of pocket between the ER visits and surgery – which was a HUGE hit being just out of college. The Emergency doctor was even very generous, giving me a 25% veterinary professional discount for Bella’s visits.
After pretty much breaking the bank with this ordeal, I have been a pet insurance advocate ever since and will never be without it again!
This is just one example of why even veterinary staff members need pet insurance too. You can never plan for accidents and illnesses that necessitate you visiting an ER or Specialist and these things always seem to happen at the most inopportune times!
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