when to not say yes to the vet

January 18, 2009 ·

this weekend has been a tough one for us. one of our rabbits fell seriously ill with fluid in his chest and an abscess in his stomach. he's doing much better now (not quite out of the woods though) after some great care by 3 different vets. but it got me thinking about the dollars and cents of veterinary care.

we don't have pet insurance, virtually no one does. i read a stat that only 0.4% of all cats and dogs in the u.s. are insured by their owners. that is amazingly low. i thought it was maybe between 5% and 10%. compare that to human insurance in the u.s. which is around 82% (it's the only fair comparison given our universl health care in canada - the point being that if we didn't have socialized healthcare here, the percentages would likely be similar). so how much do we really love our pet companions? what is the price tag we have on them? apparently it's around $576 before euthanization becomes a much more viable option to further treatment according to caa.

pet insurance aside, what of company benefits. do any of them include pets? i seriously doubt it (mine doesn't), even though they are a part of the family and the rest of them get coverage. my pets wellbeing weighs on me as my people family would and that affects my work life and my financial life that the rest of my benefits are there to assuage in the event of health issues. 

why can't they be included? there's a lot of crap in benefit packages we don't ever use. $500 in massage that i'll never use i'd rather have available to put toward vet bills. i won't go through it line by line, but there's lot sof things i don't need or won't use that would easily make up for what i'd spend or use in pet insurance. not to take this post of track, but i'd love to see an openness and flexibility in benfit packages that a person could tailor to themselves and their situation, especially as it pertains to pets.

more than anything, i struggle with the dynamic people and their pets, especially when it comes down to medical care and the associated costs. on one side, i can see how there's a point where people can decide that the equaion doesn't balance and it doesn't make sense. it's a very real possibility some times. or that they simply don't have the money to give their pet that care. on the flip side, pets are just as much a part of people's lives and there is deep love people have for them. we wouldn't question it were a person on the operating table, so why do we for a pet?

i'll openly grant that it's easier to let a pet go than it is to do the same for a person. people are of a peer level and a love bond based on more levels than an animal is capable of. but that doesn't make them disposable. i hope not. that's a little shameful, though, isn't it? to think that we love animals less or in another way that somehow isn't equal. why are animals more replaceable than humans?

it's morality vs. economic. in the state of our world, we know that those two have a lot of difficulty co-existing in a positively genuine way. it's not easy.

did we consider euthanization? no, we didn't. he was still treatable and as long as that's the case, with a good outlook post-treatment, then i'm all for it. it's just money, right? so i have a little debt. so i work part time for 2-3 months to pay it off. it's worth it for me. he brings a lot of joy in my life and $3,000 is worth it for him to still be around for the rest of his life to live, be a happy rabbit and me to have his companionship.

i'm not  saying i'm a saint here. sure, i looked at the cost and had my brief doubts on whether it was worth it. i felt ashamed for doing so, but it happened. that's the dilemma with all this - why did i question it? i wasn't ready to say goodbye. there will be a time when i am more ready and feel that it is his time. when he won't be able to live a quality life, when he doesn't have a good chance of making it through, when he's lived for a long time, and when i can put my own selfishness of wanting him around aside for his own well being and stem any suffering. 

how easily we forgot about our own selfishness in this whole mater. and it's on both sides. selfishness for our money and the impact a drain will have on our lives. then selfishness of wanting to keep them around for ourselves. how do we resolve this?

i know i'm not being as clear as i'd like. it's hard to express such esoteric quandires where emotion is so heavily involved. i am having a hard time reconciling this all myself.


Steve said...
January 19, 2009 at 6:09 AM  

Pet insurance is as important as human insurance. Because, after all, it is far cheaper. And we love our pets at the end of the day
Dog Ramps



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