September 19th, 2016

lazer sam

Sam and the importance of pet insurance

I haven't mentioned it yet, but we had a medical scare with Sam last week. He sat next to me on the loveseat all morning and I noticed he was struggling a little bit while trying to shift positions. A little while later, he jumped down to the floor and stumbled across the room before laying down again. I wanted to see if he could walk normally, but I couldn't get him to come to me, so I called the vet and asked if I could bring him in immediately. They said I could drop him off and they'd work him in between other appointments. I was really grateful for this, because even though there's an emergency vet in our neighborhood, it's just better for him to go where they have his history on file.

His blood sugar was extremely high at the time, though a lot of that can be attributed to the stress of the visit. And there was plenty. He screamed and hissed at them enough that now, days later, his meow is still squeaky. They can determine via another test what his levels were over time, and it wasn't elevated in the days leading up. There's no pancreatitis, and x-rays didn't reveal anything. They couldn't figure out what happened. But he's doing great!

One of the first questions the vet asked was if I'd be willing to do the testing and insulin injections if it turned out he was diabetic, and of course I said yes. But I'm so glad he's not. The recommendation was to put him on prescription food anyway, since he's an older cat and a likely candidate to turn diabetic in the next couple of years. I was worried Sam wouldn't like the food, but he loves it. He's never been a picky eater, though. It's a bit of a pain to feed Sam and Steve different foods, but since I don't have to administer injections, I won't complain much.

My credit card groaned as I pulled it out of my wallet. I spent lots of money during our trip to Oregon, then bought a new, expensive mattress when we got back. So in the space of a week or so, my balance doubled, and then went to triple the original amount. It was nuts. What would be terrible would be to pay for the whole thing out of pocket. We have both cats insured through PetPlan, and I'm so glad for that. We moved money from our joint savings account to pay me back immediately, then Garrett filed a claim. There's no saying until we hear back how much they'll reimburse us, but it should be a pretty hefty chunk of the total.

If people don't want to insure their pets and always pay out of pocket, that's fine. But I think you can make better decisions about pet care when financial hardship isn't as much of a factor. And in recent years, people have gotten so comfortable with crowdfunding that they don't see pet insurance as necessary, but there's some fatigue there, for sure.

Anyway, I'm glad Sam's doing so well. He's also now taking Cosequin in case age-related pain was a factor, and other than his weird meows, he seems pretty much like his old self.