The reasons you should be looking into pet health insurance go well beyond the basic risk-reducing, peace of mind issues I detailed in my first post on this subject. Insurance, I argued last week, will NOT save you money...not unless you get very unlucky. That’s how it works. But it CAN save your pet’s life. 

And that’s what it’s all about. 

Every year, veterinary medicine gets increasingly expensive. Two decades ago it would have been ridiculous to imagine yourself considering a total hip replacement on your badly dysplastic puppy, a battery of allergy tests on your itchy cat, radiation therapy for a brain tumor (as I did for my dog) or a vaccine to keep melanoma cancer from spreading. 

Now that these offerings have become almost routine, your potential inability to pay for these new miracles of modern veterinary medicine has become a serious problem. After all, there’s nothing more depressing than having to say goodbye because you can’t afford care. 

In spite of what you might think, I don’t say this to guilt you into getting insurance. But having to watch my patients die of curable diseases does put something of a damper on my own personal psyche. I make no excuses for the fact that I recommend pet insurance for many selfish reasons––along with some not-so-selfish, of course. 

Not only will pet insurance bring more more money to my practice and to my profession in general, it’ll mean that veterinary medicine will improve its standards and offer more options. If you can afford more because you’ve got insurance paying for most of your emergencies and pet healthcare crises, it stands to reason that we vets will improve our service offerings to meet your demand for more high-tech care.

And that’s a good thing!

But here’s where the have-nots will suffer. Those who go without coverage will risk seeing the progressive medicine happen across an impermeable glass wall. Already, the gap between abandoned or neglected pets and those with access to specialists or university-style care is growing, just as it happens in human medicine––only more pronounced due to the animals-are-disposable mentality that still prevails in some socioeconomic sectors. 

So wouldn’t it be great to level the playing field? 

In Great Britain, pets are covered to the tune of 25% to 30%. Why is it so different in the U.S., where only an estimated 1% get the benefit of insurance? 

Hmmm...

Though we clearly love our pets as much, the gap sure makes you wonder...

Dr. Patty Khuly