The better answer for all parties is to seek viable options to afford quality veterinary costs that will continue to inevitably increase with inflation over time. There are medical lending plans that pet owners make take advantage of, but these options still invariably lead to debt accumulation. While the low interest rates on these plans are often very favorable, the best option is high quality pet health insurance.
This biggest barrier that we have encountered in advocating for pet owners to get their pets insured is that most of the options that are available in the pet insurance market mirror the same abysmal issues that have frustrated people in the human health insurance market: life time health care caps, unreasonable denials of claims, etc. As a result, only 3% of pet owners in the US carry pet health insurance for their pets…and in light of the options that have been out there, rightfully so.
The game changed, however, when a company called Trupanion, a pet insurance company based out of Canada, made a push into the US over 2 years ago. While Trupanion does not cover pre-existing conditions, they only go back 18 months in your pet’s medical record when determining the presence of pre-existing conditions. Of course, the best time to sign up for Trupanion pet insurance is when your dog/cat is still young (5 years or younger) when most do not have pre-existing health issues. As long as renewals of policies do not lapse, you lock in the young pet rate for the life of the pet, no matter what health concerns may arise. Thus, this is the time period when it is ideal to get your pet insured. I have been so happy with Trupanion, that I have discarded all other pet insurance brochures from my veterinary hospital.
With Trupanion, we finally have a pet insurance company doing it right. Trupanion’s influence in my veterinary practice for those pet owners who have decided to carry has been virtually no hesitation from the pet owner to engage in whatever diagnostics and treatments are necessary to heal their pets; while enabling the doctors and medical team of my hospital the ability to practice the best quality veterinary medicine.
I urge every pet owner – not just clients of my veterinary clinic, but every pet owner – to take precautions for the pending veterinary critical mass. If treating your pet’s ailments that will inevitably occur in his/her lifetime is something that could create a troubling or even perilous financial circumstance for you and your family, please consider Trupanion, as they are the gold standard for pet health insurance. Do not make the mistake of being faced with putting a monetary value on your pet’s health, because as they relate to your family, they are priceless.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne, FL, Chief Editor of the Veterinary Advice and Information Website, Web-DVM, and founder/CEO of Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care.