We had quite a stressful week last week. Our new puppy got sick.
We're still not sure how or what happened, other than X-rays showed she may have ingested something either toxic or painful, and she had subsequent vomiting and nausea which resulted in her having to spend a night in the animal hospital.
It wasn't until the evening, after a day stay at our local vet, that the vet announced she was too unwell to come home and would need hourly overnight monitoring and an IV drip to keep her hydrated.
The nearest animal hospital, she explained, was about 25 minutes away from where we live. It was packed. An hour after we arrived she finally got checked in, and my daughter and I bid her a reluctant farewell.
She's so new and so tiny and yet has stolen such a huge chunk of our hearts.
We were more upset I think than she was.
The next morning when I picked her up, we were told we had to return to the vet, where she required the catheter to be kept in, more fluids, some blood tests, and another day stay.
I tried not to be too much of an overbearing mother, calling the vet constantly throughout the day asking how she was and if I could take her home yet.
Finally, after her second day in veterinary care, we were allowed to take her home.
We were so overjoyed cuddling and kissing her that we almost forgot to pay the bill.
Which leads me to the point of this story. Pet insurance. Who knew?
Well not me. And that's an expensive lesson well learned.
The cost of animal welfare and medical care is eye-watering.
In fact I can't recall a single one of my children costing as much in three days of ill health as this dog cost.
Pets costs thousands. I joked at the animal hospital that it would've been cheaper to put her up at a five-star Auckland hotel for the night than leave her in there. But when faced with a sick pet, your beloved family pooch, all listless and tragic, you'll do anything to have them well.
So why is veterinary care so expensive? Well there's quite a few costs to meet.
From staff (you want experience and education so that's costly), specialist services have to be employed: toxicologists, pathologists, nutritionists, radiologists - these are all big bucks.
Then there's the pet pills and potions themselves, they're pricey, the manufacture and distribution of these doesn't come cheap. Equipment, supplies, syringes, catheters, surgical equipment - this is often the same as human equipment so there's another big cost. And that's before we get to the facilities or lease of the actual clinic. All huge overheads.
So I can see why sadly, many people don't even bother going to the vet, which often has such a sad outcome for our furry friends. It was a good reminder that buying a pet is a huge commitment, not just in time, but also money.
Pet insurance is probably big business too, but it's definitely something I'll be signing up for.