What would you do if your pet has an emergency?
Monday morning 17-week old Archer’s Dad called us in a panic. Archer had just fallen off his second story balcony. Archer wasn’t moving much, and he feared at least a broken leg. Normally, Archer’s Dad has a screen up along the base of the balcony railings, but he had removed it for a short period of time whilst rearranging the deck. Archer had been gleefully running through the house (as kittens do)…but was unable to stop in time before slipping through the rungs and falling.
This playful kitten had just been in to see Dr. Herberts for his final set of vaccinations. Archer was full of beans and loved getting into mischief around the house. Everything was going well at home, until this.
Do you have a plan?
Emergencies can happen in an instant. Whether it be a pet swallowing something they shouldn’t, a dog running across the street, or what happened with Archer, they happen quickly and sometimes despite our best efforts to protect our furry loved ones.
One of the hardest decisions one faces in a pet emergency is funding appropriate treatment. Emotions are high, the pet is in distress, and you the owner have to make tough decisions very quickly. Veterinarians do their best to present the ideal treatment option, with alternate plans if suitable when budgeting is a concern. However, this is not a situation anyone wants to be caught in unprepared.
What injuries did Archer sustain? Was he okay?
Archer’s Dad rushed him into Kortright Animal Hospital. Dr. Herberts gave Archer a strong pain medication, and performed a comprehensive physical exam as well as radiographed his left leg. The leg was indeed broken, in the area of the tibia (lower leg bone). The good news was that the rest of Archer seemed stable; he had escaped from his fall relatively unharmed. However, the leg was going to require orthopedic surgery. This required the expertise of a Board Certified Surgeon, and was going to cost upwards of $1500-2000.
Are you financially prepared?
One of the best things you can do as an owner is prepare for a ‘worst case scenario’ emergency, and have money saved and readily available. This should be in the realm of $3000-5000, depending on the size of your pet. Bigger pets require more expensive medications and care. If that seems like a lot of money, paying monthly into pet insurance is also a great option. In fact, some of our own team members have enjoyed the benefits of such services as PetSecure and Trupanion.
It is also a good idea to talk with the entire family as to what the upper end of your budget is for emergency care for your pet. This is a very difficult discussion; no one wants to place a monetary value on a beloved family member. But remember, this discussion will be ten times harder in the face of a crisis. You can explore other ‘backup’ options as well, including whether family members or even friends would be willing to lend money in the event of an emergency.
What did Archer’s Dad do?
Archer’s Dad was extremely responsible, as right from Archer’s adoption he had an emergency fund set aside. We know he certainly wasn’t expecting to use it so early on, but thank goodness he had the fund. Archer’s leg was operated on successfully, and so far it has continued to heal wonderfully. The pins in his leg on the post-operative radiograph below have held the bone fragments in place enough to heal, and likely he will never require removal of the pins. Five weeks after the accident you would never know what this little guy had been through!
It pays to be prepared and have a plan.