My dog had some pretty massive surgery. Pet insurance did what she was supposed to do.
I will start with the absolute shame that I feel: the first thing I told my vet, when she told me that my 125 lb rescue in the Pyrenees, Nemo, probably required a Surgical double CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament), was "Fuck, what will it cost me?"
My first thought should have been, "How are we going to have a very sedated 125lb dog with a knee sawed on three flights of 23 steps in total? because, as my vet pointed out: "This is an athlete injury, your insurance should cover it.Go see the specialist."
A little before the adoption of the puppy Nemo, 4 and a half years ago, I went out with a woman who had suffered a lot for her Dane. His giant dog had bone cancer and hip dysplasia. Although she encouraged me to adopt a giant breed dog, she also advised me to take out pet health insurance. I did some research and the supplier in 2014 who won my company was Trupanion. I've also added the PT / Recovery endorsement to Nemo's insurance. I can not understand why he had this runner, but PRAISE THE FSM! I did not add this rider to my Maine Coon Cat, my heart, or my beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Zuul. I bought them both basic plans.
I was momentarily reassured to have insurance. I am emotionally incapable of not doing all that my pet needs in terms of medical care. I was also super worried that the insurance fuck with me. Insurance companies exist to fuck with people. I lost a lot of sleep.
We finally saw the specialist in early November. Some X-rays and $ 1000 later, it was said that Nemo really needed TPLO Surgery on both knees. Maybe some repairs to his patella were also in order, to stop their dislocation. We scheduled the operation on one leg for Jan. 2 because it was the first opening they had. The vet also sent an estimate of $ 8400 for the day care expenses and care. This quote has also been sent to my insurance company. I held my breath.
In less than 24 hours, Trupanion approved Nemo's surgery. I focused now on how I was driving this dog on the stairs. The vet told me that Nemo should be able to climb the stairs a day after the operation and not worry.
We waited for two months. When the weather cooled, Nemo got worse and moving was clearly uncomfortable. At the approach of the surgery, he developed hot spots by licking his knees and I had to make him take antibiotics. We put the cone of shame. Neems became such a big baby that I had to sleep on the floor with him before the operation! I was desperate to put this dog on the road to recovery.
While picking up Nemo the day after the operation, it was obvious that there was no fucking way to claim that his dog was heading alone towards the stairs. The veterinary technician insisted that he succeed. I ended up wearing the dog on the stairs. It was not easy for him or for me.
Nemo and I spent the next 10 days sharing her two dog beds. He had not been able to climb the stairs leading to my room for months and, once the skin infection had started, he was moaning and trying to blow his nose at his ease. he was not too close to me. His leg heals wonderfully, and after a few days he was able to get up, he is now ready to open the door and let himself out whenever he wants. My back dropped. Now we sleep in my daughter's room and she has the big bed for a while.
Last night, I had the last account to pay from the insurance company. They paid 7008.60 dollars out of the 9,073.34 dollars that it cost until now. $ 2064.74 was paid by Nemo and me. We are not half done! There will be a physical therapy, a surgical procedure for the other leg, and then more PT. The next recovery of Nemo should be easier, but I am not sure that the operation or the PT will be cheaper.
We have a deductible of $ 500 which corresponds to the "lifetime per event". I got hit for the luxator patella separately from the CCL repair, even though one probably caused the other. So I paid $ 1,000 before Trupanion came into play. The insurance covers 90% of medical services, excluding post-franchise exams. If it had been an annual franchise, I would have already paid $ 500 in 2018 and $ 500 in 2019. We'll see how they handle his other leg, which could represent an extra $ 1,000.
In the end, Trupanion took in 70 to 80 percent of the cost of Nemo's extremely expensive surgery. I expect that they cover the same thing on the other leg in the identical, and I pay another franchise.
I pay around $ 65 a month for Nemo's insurance. Until now, he has paid about 3900 dollars. Before the next milestone of $ 9,000 is made, Nemo has a positive insurance of $ 3,100 and expects to reach $ 10,000 or more by the end of the year (the physical therapy is also 90% covered). If Nemo is under 14, I will only contribute about $ 7,000 to insurance. Even though he never needs insurance again, he will still have cleared $ 3,000 positive.
14 is damn optimistic.
I'm sure I would have solved the problem if I had had more than $ 15,000 in dog medical expenses to defend by myself. Life would be a lot harder and honestly, it happened more easily than most of my interactions with medical insurance.
Nemo and me, thank you, Trupanion. Soon, my friend will wander again at his own pace in the street.
I highly recommend looking for different insurance providers and finding the one that will best suit your needs. Trupanion made a real difference for Nemo and me.
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