Tuesday, 30 April 2013

To insure or not to insure? That is the question...

 Guest blog post by trustee & volunteer Chris Newton:

Some of you may remember me from my five-part blog I did during October/November last year about how my life has been transformed by the adoption of two ginger kittens from the branch in February 2011.

Since those blogs Emma and I have caved again and we added Frosty to our troops (that is it, we are now full for adoptions until we get a bigger house!). Frosty first came to us as a foster kitten having had a prolapse when he was just a few weeks old. He had already been moved away from his mum which can’t have helped him stress-wise and unfortunately his new owners couldn’t afford the cost of his operation.

We instantly fell in love with Frosty from his super confident entry into the foster kitten room (where we had Santa, Claus, Holly and Ivy foster kittens already), he greeted each one with a bosh on the head, to his infectious purring when you just looked at him. He would fall asleep as soon as he settled in your lap, or as I found out, my back when I was lying down playing with the kittens!

He has settled in really well into our zoo, always the live wire and starting play fights with his much bigger brothers and sisters. He can’t stand to be ignored and his new favourite game is grabbing daddy’s glasses when he comes from hugs! It is a good job I have plenty of spare specs dotted around the house just in case!

By now I am sure you are thinking ‘Crikey, here he goes into another ramble about his cats’ and that is where you would be wrong. This blog entry is purely to do with Pet Insurance. I am on absolutely no commission here, it is to alert other pet owners about the potential costs of pet ownership and how they rapidly increase when something goes wrong. I even asked Susie the branch manager if I could write about it to get the message across.

For those of you who I have done home visits for I always mention pet insurance, again not because I get a cut from the policies, but to really drill into people just how expensive vets bills can be. Up until now the example I have used has been about Tigger and his burnt paw when he decided he wanted some of my spaghetti on toast while I was filling the pot up with water (about 1 metre away from the hob). It was only one paw, and as I live round the corner from my vets he was seen within 15 minutes and made a full recovery. That little episode cost me £150, which was for ONE paw. I had taken out per insurance a month before so reclaimed all but the £65 excess.

Since Thursday 25th April though I now have a new story to tell home visitors. In short my little lion Murray jumped up to see Emma who was on the sofa, knocked a glass of wine over, the glass broke which startled him and Murray slipped off the sofa landing on the glass cutting his right hind paw. A genuine accident if ever there was one. First thing is first, call Susie for help, panic had well and truly set in and we were determined that none of the other four cats would hurt themselves too with glass all over the floor. A wash of the wound and then wrapped in a tea towel was up next followed by a call to the vets, it was 10pm so it would be an emergency trip. An hour later he was bandaged up with an operation due in the morning when there would be a full compliment of staff in to monitor the lion. Last time he was under anaesthetic he had a problem breathing so he was treated like an old fuddy duddy.

The operation went smoothly but it was found the cut was so deep he had lacerated his tendons to all four toes on his paw. They had repaired them but there is a chance the tendons may not fully recover and he may walk a bit ‘toes up’ for the rest of his life. He came home on Friday evening with a nice new bandage, medications and limp accompanied by a bill of just under £600. Since Friday evening Murray has been back to the vets on Sunday and Monday with his stitches due out next Friday. The total cost of this accident is likely to get close to £800.

To insure Murray for a year it is around £140 with a lifetime cover (covers any long-term illnesses for his lifetime, not just the policy year). I cannot express my relief enough for having this meaning that Murray is getting the absolute best care for his injury. I genuinely hope that none of you ever have to experience what Emma and I have been through the last few days with your pets, but should you have to then I really hope you consider taking out some insurance for your little furry friends, or at least have some spare pennies tucked away for a rainy day.

You will be glad to know his wound is healing very nicely as you can see from the picture below and although he will be on cage rest for a few weeks it won’t be long until he is charging round chasing his brother and sisters again. But still, ouch!