Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I met a man today.  His companion was a lovely, energetic golden retriever with a cloudy, bluish right eye.  Oh, I wish I could tell you the magical story of the two of us bonding delightfully over our dogs about how chance brought us both together urged on by the love of our pets.  {{{{sigh}}}} That isn't this story...  but I am left wondering... hmmm, what if?  (Oops, I digress...)

Chandler was there for his orthopedic follow-up visit and I am sure to help fund the new orthopedic surgical center.   (Ok, just kidding, well... kind of.)  This was my third visit to a major veterinary hospital in 3 weeks.  Two of them were for Chandler and the third, for my Bestest Eventing Buddy's fabulously talented, rehabbing horse.

Here comes a rant...  beware!

I hate the whole concept of Pet Insurance.  That's right...  I hate it!  And, those Credit Cards that allow you to pay for veterinary care interest free for months or even a year... yep, hate that too.  And ok, might as well get this out 'cause if I'm going to rant, I must let it go.  I hate Veterinary Specialty Hospitals.

You see, at one point, we had to make real decisions about care based on real factors - age of the animal, use, cost of care and the quality of life in relationship to the treatment.  With all of that, money was a factor in the treatment.   Pet Insurance and interest free specialty Credit Cards makes it easy for us to say yes and yes and yes.  And because we can say yes "easily" the necessity and cost of care go up.  And it will continue to go up as far as we can "afford".

Love can not be calculated by money, right?  So, we take these loans and we pay whatever the charge because of our love, right?

One person stood out for me...  she was a young girl, at best, in her late teens.  Her horse was a beautiful black Quarter Horse - dead lame.  I asked her what brought them to this fully-equipped Specialty Hospital.  "They have everything here - MRIs, Nuclear Scintagraphy - everything possible for him.  I have insurance and he's fully covered, so I said, why not?"  Poor thing, she does not yet know about full coverage does not mean everything they do is covered fully.  Poor thing.

My newfound-in-the-moment-could-be-a-boyfriend fellow dog owner?   His dog "needed" to have her eye removed.  He explained that the dog never bothered with the cloudy eye, never scratched at it or banged into things and that she was happy, playful with a great appetite.  The vet (or vet tech) insisted that the eye had to be removed and added, "How would you feel if you had a low-grade headache every day?"  This Golden was 12 years old.  His decision?  She was fine, just the way she was and at 12, surgery would be too hard for her with no great result.

For the record, let it be known that I am sooo in love with Chandler, Jonah and Sugar.  I believe firmly that as an animal owner I have a responsibility to do for them what needs to be done to keep them fit and healthy.  (OK, I actually should have that same motto when it comes to me and my health... uh, 'nough said.)  

Sug, you know, gets pedicures, massage, chiro, acupuncture and supplements to keep her joints moving freely and her body strong.  I have her saddles fitted two times a year.   The boys, Jonah and Chandler, belong to a doggy play group, are walked several time a day and only eat good quality food.  All of them recieve regular and appropriate vet care and immunizations.  They want for nothing.

I pray that I never have to make a serious care decision solely on its financial impact.  And, I also pray that I don't make decisions to do things because I have insurance (Sugar) or an interest free Credit Card (Jonah and Chandler)  For me, cost and outcomes must be a consideration...  a responsible consideration.  I'm ok with that!


Barbara said...

I absolutely agree with you. Animal medicine is turning into the same mess human medicine is. Financially out of the reach of the average person and a money maker for the insurance co. and the vet.....who just want one more test, just one more, maybe a surgery, maybe. I have been offered the 'opportunity' to keep aged and dying of old age pets alive for another month or two for THOUSANDS of dollars and medicines and procedures that I would not inflict on myself.

Tricia said...

Sane, sound, and sensible rant. Agree with you entirely.

SprinklerBandit said...

There's a reason I don't have my horse insured--the whole industry stinks of a giant scam. Not just the pet side, but all of it. Besides, horses (and dogs and cats) just aren't designed to go through that kind of treatment. They can't have it explained to them that "if you just stay clean and dry and still, you might have a chance of recovering". It's hard, but I think it's better to let go than to inflict that kind of misery on a poor, helpless animal.