Is pet insurance worth it – is probably one of the first questions you ask after you get a pet. And I am here to tell you that Yes, yes it is.
We now have 2 dogs, Cooper 7.5year old black Labrador and Shelby 1.5 year old German shepherd. Last spring, over Easter holidays we visited the in-laws and let both dogs off the lead to run around their garden. A few minutes later Cooper came back, hoping on 3 legs and holding up his hind right leg. Our first thought was that he had a thorn or something else stuck in his pad. But after checking all his toes and going over it several times- I couldn’t feel anything. We were hoping that he might’ve sprained his ankle or pulled a muscle.
Following morning there was no improvement and we called our vets to have an emergency appointment.
After the vet examined Cooper, turned out he had cruciate ligament damage. At this point we didn’t know how serious it was. The vet gave him a pain relief injection and tablets to give him over the next few days and monitor him. If he doesn’t improve – book a x-ray appointment and then may have surgery.
Cruciate ligament essentially are 2 bands in the knee that act like a hinge. Here is in-depth details and visuals from Fitzpatric Hospital.
Coopers road to recovery was a long one. We had to wait 3 weeks to have the X-ray, which confirmed that he had teared his cruciate ligament and required surgery.
As Cooper is a big dog we decided to proceed with the TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) surgery – titanium plate and screws added in the knee to make the hinge that has been damaged.
It was another 3 weeks wait until surgery. I believe this would’ve been longer, but the vet had a cancellation in their hospital, which bumped our appointment up. We dropped him off first thing in the morning, they did the surgery around mid-day, but he stayed in the hospital overnight. They wanted to monitor him following the surgery, make sure he eats & goes to toilet. If my memory is right, I think we picked him up around mid-day the following day.
Post surgery recovery
For the next 5-7 days Cooper was cage bound- to limit his movement and let the leg heal. The only time we let hem out of the cage was to go to the toilet and eat. When we weren’t downstairs with him- he also had to wear the cone, to ensure he didn’t lick the wound and infect it.
A week after the surgery he had a check up, which went fine. A few days before that we noticed a little fluid build up around his ankle, but most of it cleared up on it’s own. Around 3-4 weeks later he started physio and overall he had 5 sessions. Cooper did have a follow up x-rays as well – 4-6 weeks after the surgery.
One thing we were really struggling with was building the muscle back on his leg. Even through physio- it seems like an impossible task. He would have good weeks and then all of a sudden – all the muscle would seek to disappear and he would limp again. After having another check up with the vet they prescribed some more anti inflammatories for 2 weeks to give him every day. And we as owners made a conscious effort to take him for a walk every single day for 20-30 minutes, on a short lead and walking slow, to make him put his leg down. Doing exercises at home was a big help as well- making Cooper sit and stand back up (squats for dogs).
Where is Cooper now?
9 months on- Cooper is back to being his usual happy & cheeky self. His right leg is the same as it was before, and we can go on walks without worrying if that is too long or a difficult walk for him. We do however, keep him on the lead, as he often gets zoomies when he’s out and especially near water. To avoid extra stress and another injury – he’s on the lead.
Why do I agree with the statement – is pet insurance worth it?
Because we spent £4,500 (roughly) on Cooper to get his leg sorted and we only had insurance for £1000, which only covered the first x-ray and had another £695 left for the surgery.
Unless you have a spare £6k+ in your account you could use on your dogs vet bills, I highly recommend having dog insurance. I cannot vouch for how much vet bills cost for cats and other animals.
Here is the breakdown of all the costs for Cooper:
- £404 1st x-ray
- £3,671.70 – surgery
- £200 (roughly) for medication
- £240 physio
I believe all the costs are as accurate as they could be, I had to rummage through all invoices, so think I’ve captured all.
Over the years we spent about £800-900 on Coopers insurance, which corresponded to what we were able to claim. Following all this we have increased the insurances of both dogs.
Our current dog insurances
If you have already looked at dog insurances, then you’ll know there are all different levels of protection you can insure your dog for. We are with Animal Friends, and I cannot fault them. They are always good on the phone to help with whatever query you might have, their claims department resolves claims quickly.
Both of our dogs are on Lifetime cover – which allows you to claim, up to the agreed limit, per condition per year. And the pot refills every year. Which is great assurance to have. But I do have to point out, that if you are on a lower limit- like we were £1k per condition per year, after we increased the insurance cover the cover for the same injury on Coopers hind legs are staying at £1k. As it’s a pre-existing condition.
And the limit has been increased to £8k per condition per year for both- Cooper & Shelby. Yes, the monthly insurance payments have gone up. Obviously if you are looking for insurance for your dog or cat – do shop around, check on comparison websites what they offer and what you can get for your monies.
I know this is a super long and wordy post, but I hope I have answered the question – is pet insurance worth it? Ultimately the final decision is yours, but it’s good to look at different options.
Agates top tips
- Some insurance providers will have options for the claim to be pre-approved before the procedure. Check with them first and then provide your insurance details to your vet (insurance number and your name)
- If you have had the dog registered with other vets in the past, the insurer might require details from them as well.
- If your dog require physio, check with your insurance company if they cover it, as physio money could be sitting in a different pot. Animal Friends have separate pot for physio.
I really hope that this post – is pet insurance worth it?- has helped answer some or all your questions about pet insurance. If you have any further questions – leave a comment or use my contact me page & drop me a line. Or DM me on Instagram – links below.