Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Importance Of Pet Insurance!

Having been a rottweiler owner for a long time now, I have certainly experienced the highs and utter lows of an extremely ill pet. Those experiences although very unpleasant and heart breaking at the time, made me truly understand the importance of pet insurance for absolute peace of mind. As pet owners we always try to do our best to minimise health concerns such as joint problems for example, by stopping your puppy from over exerting themselves at a really young age. The reason we need to be careful is because right up to the age of around 2 your rottweilers body grows so rapidly that activities such as leaping in and out of the back of a ute can damage the joints ie knees, elbows and hips creating all sorts of problems that with a little care, really can be avoided.

Proper vaccinations at the required times should also be carried out by your vet which will help prevent your rottweiler contracting any number of diseases, some of which unfortunately can be fatal.

General grooming ie brushing his coat, clipping his nails and keeping an eye on his teeth and ears should all be done on a regular basis. This will help you detect problem early if they arise which will prevent infections becoming a painful and "expensive" concern.

Lots of peoples belief is that their pet very rarely needs medical treatment therefore having insurance is an unnecessary expense. Instead of having cover they decide to set a small sum of money aside just incase the unthinkable happens. In a lot of cases thankfully that is true but I don't think people really understand and appreciate just how expensive one visit to the vet can be, never mind if your rottweiler pet requires on going treatment

I got my beautiful boy Max when he was just 5 weeks old ( back then I did not know the right and wrongs in caring for a pet other than giving them heaps of love!). Puppies should never be taken from their litter before 8 weeks of age as this time teaches them crucial and important social skills which they can only gain from their siblings and mother.

When Max was only 6 weeks old and still suckling as new pups tend to, he somehow managed to swallow a 30cm long twig which then got stuck in his throat and stomach. I took him to my local vet immediately and after an examination Max was sent straight into surgery to have the twig removed. Unfortunately this was to be the beginning of a number of many unforseen and traumatic incidents that happened throughout Max's life.

Back then I really did not understand the importance of pet insurance and what was on offer, but once my vet explained what was available I immediately did some research, checked out several different companies and got full insurance cover for Max. That turned out to be the best decision I could have made.

At around 12 months of age I saw a wart like lump the size of a pea below his anus. When I took Max in for his scheduled vaccination it was looked examined and checked over by the vet and I was asked to keep a close eye out for any changes of its form, colour or size. At 2 years of age it unexpectedly changed quite rapidly and looked quite ugly all of a sudden. This was then checked again by my vet and tests were performed to find out precisely what it was. The news was not good at all, as they found nasty cells which turned out to be a mastcell tumour (cancerous malignant tumour ). We did not really have any options other than surgery to have the mass removed and to hope and pray that the vet got all the cancerous cells during this operation. The news was good and thankfully the surgery was successful.

A year later Max injured his cruciate ligament ( located in the knee joint) running after rabbits in the paddock. This also required surgery to give Max back his proper mobility and relieve him of the pain from an unstable joint. Again the surgery was successful and recovery took roughly 6 to 8 weeks. Due to the excess strain on his opposite knee joint, not long after he had the all clear from the vet regarding the first cruciate operation, his good cruciate ligament ruptured. So once again surgery was needed and strict rest and only on lead walks for 6 to 8 weeks were allowed. It was so hard for Max to be physically limited for such a long time as he was always a very active dog who loved to run around all day!

At 6 years of age I noticed a tiny growth on his lower gum line next to his back tooth. Due to Max's history we got the lump checked out straight away and the results were not good. It came back as a gingival fibrosarcoma which is another horrible cancerous tumour. Because of the particular type of cancer it was Max was also required to have a CT scan performed as this would show us if the tumour had spread to any other part of his body. He had to go through yet more surgery which ment removing almost half of his jaw on the left side. Again the surgery was successful and even though he was missing half of his jaw he coped unbelievably well and was still an extremely happy beautiful boy.

When he was around 9 I had to do a road trip from Newman which is north WA, all the way down to Perth (12-13 hour drive). Because of the heat and excitement of the journey, within minutes of Max consuming his dry biscuits, his stomach had blown up like a balloon and I knew immediately that he had bloat (GDV- Gastric Dilation Volvulus) which can be fatal if not treated straight away. This condition is quite common in large breed dogs and it is when the stomach is so full of food,water and air that it twists on its self. I rushed Max to the vet were he had emergency surgery and was in a serious condition for the next couple of days. Even after all of his illnesses and treatments Max again completely recovered and always had a happy, bubbly attitude towards life.

Not long after suffering from bloat, Max became lame in his back leg and within days could not use it at all and was in a lot of pain. Once again I took him to the vet thinking he may have flared up an old knee injury as he still ran around like a puppy even though he was now nearly 10 years old. After x-rays we were absolutely devastated to learn that his leg was broken due to a bone cancer (Osteosarcoma). We really only had two choices, put Max to sleep or amputate his leg and see if he would be able to cope with this major operation. After many more tests to see if the cancer had spread ( metastasized ) we decided to go ahead with the amputation and a very intensive course of chemotheraphy. Within less than 24 hours of having his leg amputated Max was up and about and so happy to be free of pain and mobile again.

For the next 3 or 4 months he underwent his chemotheraphy treatment and then finally came the day for him to have x-rays to see if he was in the clear. As you can imagine it was a very nervous time but we were exceedingly relieved and overjoyed that Max had survived yet another life threatening illness.

He was now almost 11 and due to everything he had been through ie drugs, treatment etc his liver could no longer cope and had started to fail. They did more tests but there really was nothing they could do for him as the liver damage was far too advanced and I faced the horrifying reality of doing the right thing by him and letting him go. Saying goodbye to Max was the most heart breaking thing I have ever had to experience as he was my best mate and loyal companion. He taught me so much about love and how not to be selfish, he was a truly exceptional boy who will always be with me.

Now I realise that Max's situation was not common and that thankfully most pets will not have to experience any of those illnesses but without good pet insurance Max would never have made it to his tenth birthday. Max's treatment over the years cost well into the tens of thousands of dollars and fortunately for me my pet insurance gave me the total peace of mind to know that what ever happened I could always give him the care he needed no matter what it cost. I believe that being a responsible pet owner means we not only provide our pets with a loving home but also guarantee their health is taken care of properly.

Having been through a very difficult time with my boy Max I truly know the importance of pet insurance and would recommend that all pet owners should consider coverage that suits them. []

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