Fur, Feathers, Fluff and Fuzz, Pets

My Experience with Pet Insurance.

I know what you’re thinking… and no we aren’t those crazy pet people. Never in our lives had we considered getting pet insurance. That is, until we got Doc, the bloodhound mentioned in my previous post. No, Doc wasn’t something so costly that we felt we need to insure, in fact I mentioned he was a clearance puppy in my prior post.

We also have a 10 year-old miniature schnauzer named Mac. It was Mac we really got the insurance for. From the moment we brought Doc home, he thought Mac was his own personal play toy and Mac played back. Doc just kept getting bigger and bigger and the only one who didn’t seem to notice, was Doc.

It wasn’t long after, that Doc playfully put down a paw in the middle of Mac’s back and Mac had to take a visit to the vet for some pain medicine and steroids. In Missouri, those things don’t cost much, but in Colorado (where we lived at the time) a sick vet visit can range anywhere from $200-$400 a pop.

Realizing this could continue to be a problem in the future, we immediately started researching pet insurance. In the end we did end up getting it for both dogs, after all we did pay actual money for Doc and Mac had actually been free. Thus far we haven’t been disappointed.

There are several different brands of pet insurance including Embrace, PetPlan and Geico, but we ultimately went with Nationwide Pet Insurance. None cover pre-existing conditions, and many will not cover routine dental care, but they pay for yearly exams, vaccinations and medicines. Let’s just say, at this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten the better end of the stick.

Two weeks before Eliott left for his last deployment, we were packing as much of our home into a storage unit as we could. For a little context, Eliott was separating from the Air Force right after he returned from Africa and thus I would be moving us back to Missouri so I could start the new job that was allowing us to move home while Eliott was gone.

During this time, Mac needed some teeth pulled (apparently mini schnauzers are prone to bad teeth). The procedure was done and he returned home to softened food while he healed. We went about a week without incident as we packed and moved and had things strung about our home before disaster struck.

Mac got a hold of a bone. While we were out to dinner, no less. I cried when I got home and found him whimpering and shaking, thinking he had only broken a couple of his stitches. I gave him some of his left-over pain medicine from the prior back incident and cradled him against me in our bed all night as I wept.

I cried harder when we took him in first thing the next morning and found out the full extent of what had happened. Normally, this probably would have only popped some stitches, but apparently one of the tooth infections had affected Mac’s jaw as well. That bone broke Mac’s lower jaw.

The vet available that day did surgery immediately, but something wasn’t right. Each time we removed the dreaded cone, Mac would violently push at his jaw with his paws. I investigated under his beard and found that his lower jaw was significantly misaligned with the top.

I immediately called our vet and left a message with what I’d found. He called us back in to re-evaluate Mac’s condition and his colleague’s work to find that Mac would need a specialist. Thankfully, the specialist he referred us to was able to see Mac the following day and took him for the surgery at that very visit.

Mac returned to us with his jaw essentially “wired” shut with acrylic caps attaching his upper and lower canines, as well as wire reinforcing his jaw, and his jaw was aligned. He would need another surgery to remove these caps, but my baby finally was comfortable enough to be without the cone.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. After those 3 surgeries, Mac still had to wear a muzzle for an additional 4-6 weeks to stabilize his jaw when not eating. It was then I noticed the swelling under his tongue. On to the emergency vet we went to find Mac had an enlarged Salivary gland that needed drained and had to be monitored at home for recurrence. Well… it recurred. After I had moved home.

Luckily enough, Mac’s surgeon from Colorado had a prior colleague in Kansas City, so two hours north we went. There we found out Mac needed another surgery… this time to remove that salivary gland. Thankfully that was the last trip we’ve had to make North, and the last time Mac needed anything other than routine care (except for an irritated eye) in over a year.

I’m not exaggerating when I say those 3 months were rough. I couldn’t stop the random bursts of crying for weeks during that time period. My furbaby was in pain because we had been careless enough to leave out something he couldn’t have while we packed. If we hadn’t had that pet insurance, I don’t know how we could have afforded to fix the mistake that was our fault.

That Nationwide Pet Insurance paid for 90% of EVERYTHING. 90% of each and every visit, all those medicines and four of the five surgeries I mentioned in this post. They helped us every step of the way. They were truly on our side.

And now our sweet babe is back to his normal self…

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