Our puppy Monty is an absolute menace and as much as I love him, there’s no doubt that he’s much harder work that our older dog, Buddy and so far, we’ve had more visits to the vets in his first 9 months or so with us than we’ve had in Buddy’s 9 years!
Just to give you some background, we have pet insurance where most things are covered but we do have to pay an excess on each claim. We haven’t made a claim yet as all of our treatments have been below the cost of the excess so I wouldn’t know how easy it is to actually make a claim.
We also pay our vets £16 a month per dog which gives us all appointments free along with any flea and worming treatments and a discount off their food. We took this out when Buddy was poorly with a skin infection as we needed to have quite a few appointments to get it cleared up and it was great value for money – we considered cancelling but then we had to have a few appointments for Monty that again would have cost a fortune so we kept the plans so we never had to worry about having money to pay for the vets.
Back to Monty’s escapades now…
So, I know I’ve already mentioned this in one of my five frugal things posts but I’ll tell you again in case you missed it. 😉
A couple of week’s ago the poor little fella rolled over on the field we go to near the beach and sliced his leg on something. The vet’s initial suggestion was to knock him out and stitch it up which would have cost somewhere between £400 and £500 which isn’t disastrous as we do have insurance but Monty’s quite a nervous dog when he’s at the vets so we questioned whether that was the right thing to do.
Only when we questioned the vet were we given the alternative of staples which we were then told would take a fraction of the time and be much cheaper. We went for that option thinking it would be better for his welfare as well as for our pocket and we were so right – we walked out of the vets with him less than twenty minutes later which is a much better option for him than putting him to sleep and having to leave him there to wake up with strangers around him. The fact it ended up costing £48 was an added bonus but really did make us think about whether the vets we go to really did have the welfare of Monty in mind or whether it was more about the bottom line and making a profit.
We chatted about changing vets at this point but left it as we had a couple of follow up appointments scheduled in to check on his leg and at the moment these appointments would be free on our monthly plan.
Just after his last check-up appointment for his leg, poor Monty got a bit of an ear infection which meant another couple of appointments with the vets and a course of antibiotics for him to clear it up.
And then, as if that wasn’t enough trips to the vets, our biggest trauma to date happened.
I was cooking Mr Frugal’s tea for him when he came in from work after a late shift and as I was taking the plate to the table, I lost my footing a little bit and some of the food that I’d just taken out of the oven slid off and landed on the floor.
Monty was on it super quick and swallowed the food before I had the chance to do anything about it. The food was super hot and even though I know that dogs tolerate hot food better than we do, I was pretty sure that this was too hot not to have some sort of effect.
I encouraged him to drink some water and as the poor thing was in the garden being sick, I rang the emergency vets number which isn’t our vets but is a vet in the next town who do the out of hours cover. The receptionist said straight away that I needed to take him down and that the fee was £149 plus treatment which could be quite expensive as they would need to see if there was any internal damage. She also said that the costs would need to be paid up front before the appointment.
I questioned if she thought it was essential to bring him down and mentioned that he was quite nervous at the vets and said that I would bring him down if it was necessary but if there was anything I could do at home then I’d prefer to do that.
She then said that she wasn’t really a vet so couldn’t advise but that if I wanted to know if it was necessary then I could have a call back from the Vet on duty so I told her that’s what we’d like to do and she arranged a callback.
The callback came at 10.45 and by that time, poor Monty had been sick about five times and was laid on Mr Frugal’s knee looking at him with big sad eyes.
The vet said that we didn’t need to take him down at all, just that we needed to monitor him and if he looked like he was getting worse then we should call back and make an appointment to go into the emergency clinic. She said if he wasn’t right the next morning then to go see our own vets who would assess him to see if the hot food had caused internal damage. She ended the call by letting me know that if I did want to go in then it would be £199 as the charge goes up after 11 pm!
We covered our bedroom floor in towels and blankets and had a long night keeping an eye on him but by morning, he was as bouncy as ever and back to his normal self, thank goodness.
But that’s twice that we’ve been given a more expensive option before being giving a cheaper option when we challenged the first suggestion. It’s such a fine line because we could have made the wrong decision on both occasions – we didn’t but we could easily have.
What if the cheaper staples option had been worse for him or if not taking him into the vets straight away had led to him being in more pain than he should have been in?
Don’t miss out on future posts like this – receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address here and hitting subscribe. You can also follow me on Twitter, BlogLovin or Networked Blogs and I’d love to see you over on my Facebook page and on Instagram. You can find out more about me here.