Jay came running upstairs saying the kitten was really sick. I felt fear grip my heart, partly due to worry about the kitten, and partly due to worry about what it was going to cost at the vet's office. Then I woke up and realized we don't have a kitten. It had just been a bad dream. I felt that shaky sense of relief you experience when you slowly come awake and realize the events weren't real.
I am sure this dream was brought on by Jay telling me yesterday that one of his sisters just spent $3000 on vet bills for her 12 year old cat. That is the kind of nightmare you can't wake up from! My daughter-in-law's cat was sick last month and the vet offered to do an ultrasound that was going to cost hundreds of extra dollars, and also suggested the possibility of the cat being referred to an internist. I had no idea there was such a thing as a cat internist before this happened. We had our own real life cat drama a couple of years ago, and that ended up coming in at just under $1000.
A few weeks ago I was walking Fergus and some random guy pulled over, rolled down his window and started telling me about his West Highland Terrier. It is only three years old, and had recently jumped off something and dislocated its hip. The bill so far was over $6000 and the dog still isn't 100% well. (And yes, when I am walking Fergus complete strangers approach me. Or, rather, Fergus. I have even had a carload of teenage boys yell out of their window, "Cute dog!")
All of this has me wondering. And a bit worried. What if something like that happened to Fergus? Where would I get $6000, and could I justify spending that amount on a vet bill? I used to mock people who did that kind of thing. That was before these big brown eyes got a hold of me.
I am curious to hear how other pet owners determine where the line is as far as vet bills go. Are the pet insurance policies they sell a rip-off, or are they a wise expenditure that can save you from a $6000 bill somewhere down the road?