The health of our pets is vital to us. But even with regular wellness care, a health crisis can strike quickly, often with devastating results. Without health insurance, the cost of treating a sick or injured pet can quickly become an emergency of its own.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Arit Nsemo, whose dog Deniro experienced such a crisis. She was kind enough to share her experience with us.
Q:Would you tell us about your dog, Deniro?
A: Deniro was full of life, loved people and was always looking for a new person to get love from and to give love to. He was a bulldog mix—so, lazy enough that he’d resist walking if the conditions weren’t optimal, but he had enough energy to play for hours and hours at the Lake Michigan beach in Chicago.
Q: What was the nature of your pet’s health crisis?
A: Deniro started vomiting after eating one day in late January 2017. He’d had stomach upset occasionally in the past, but this time he was getting sick after every meal for a full day. I knew something was going on—even though he was still high energy and had an appetite, I decided to take him into the vet to be safe. The vet said his vitals looked good and did some blood work.
When the blood work came back, it showed something off with his liver enzyme levels, and they referred us to the emergency vet. After an overnight stay at the ER, and a battery of further tests, the diagnosis came back: lymphoma.
Q:Were there any emergency procedures involved in your pet’s treatment?
A: Yes, two nights at the emergency vet and an emergency IV steroid treatment to level off his liver levels. They asked if I was ok with giving him a chemotherapy shot and steroids right away. I said yes, because I knew treatment was the route to take to prolong his life. The chemo shot alone was $1,300.
Q:Any long-term or follow up care?
A: Further tests were required to determine if it was t-cell or b-cell lymphoma, and so he stayed overnight again. The next day, they called to confirm that he had t-cell lymphoma, the more aggressive kind, and that they estimated he had about 6-8 months maximum, with treatment. I picked him up from the emergency vet and immediately took him across the street to the oncology center.
He then went on to have chemotherapy once a week for 5 weeks.
Q:What was the outcome of the treatment?
A: Deniro lost his battle to lymphoma on March 18, 2017—just under six weeks after his diagnosis. The cancer spread to his lungs rapidly and he was no longer able to breathe.
Q:When did you acquire health insurance for your pet?
A: Late December 2016, on a whim, I randomly bought pet insurance because I felt like Deniro might eat something weird. I never anticipated that we’d need it less than two months later to give him chemotherapy.
Q:How easy was the insurance to use?
A: So easy to use! I easily logged in to file my claims and uploaded the receipts for the treatment. Both the cancer center and the emergency vet reimbursements were super fast.
Q:What portion of your pet’s care expenses was covered by the policy?
A: 90% of the care was covered, which was immensely helpful because the bill was close to $13,000 total.
At Figo, we understand the impact that a critical illness or injury can have on your pet, as well as the toll it can take on you. That’s why we work so hard to create affordable pet insurance plans that can greatly reduce the financial burden of veterinary expenses.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.