The Veterinarian’s Perspective: Why Pet Insurance Is a Must-Have

The Veterinarian's Perspective_ Why Pet Insurance Is a Must-Have AREC Vet Dr Caroline Romeo

Pet owners are frequently surprised when they discover that I utilise pet insurance. There is often speculation about the necessity of pet insurance for those employed in the veterinary profession. However, the answer is unequivocally yes.

So, why do Veterinarians and other veterinary staff choose to use pet insurance?

In my 25 years of Veterinary practice, I have witnessed a remarkable advancement in the quality and capability of veterinary care. Like countless Australians, my pets are considered to be members of my family. When my own pets fall ill, I want nothing but the best care available to ensure their recovery and long-term quality of life.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public were surprised to hear that AREC and other veterinary hospitals loaned mechanical ventilators to human hospitals.

Do vet hospitals mechanically ventilate dogs and cats? Absolutely. Our team routinely provides mechanical ventilation for various conditions, including tick paralysis, snake envenomation, puffer fish ingestion, and heart failure. This intricate process involves keeping patients anesthetised potentially for days while providing life support to help them breathe. It demands round-the-clock intensive nursing care to prevent secondary complications, as well as the placement of central lines and for some patients, tracheostomies.

Such high-quality critical care necessitates extensive training, expensive equipment and medications, and considerable time dedicated to each individual patient.

When I graduated as a Vet, this level of care and other advanced diagnostics and treatments such as MRI and heart surgery were not available for the majority of pets in Australia. The advancements since then have been remarkable, allowing our profession to save countless lives that could not be saved in the past.

However, providing such advanced care comes at a significant cost. Unlike human healthcare, there is no equivalent of Medicare for pets in Australia. It is heartbreaking for owners if they cannot afford the necessary treatment for their beloved pet. Most veterinary hospitals do not operate at a high enough profit margin to provide financial support themselves, and they already perform a considerable amount of pro bono work including caring for injured strays and wildlife.

In my years of working in veterinary emergency and critical care, I have found that the majority of patients requiring treatment for illness or accidents are uninsured. Many owners I have spoken with assumed their pets would remain healthy and regret not having taken out insurance. Just like any insurance policy, pet insurance provides peace of mind in unforeseen circumstances. While no one wants to imagine their pet falling seriously ill or getting injured, having insurance ensures that financial concerns won’t impede necessary treatment.

Have you considered pet insurance but find yourself overwhelmed by the many options available? Or perhaps you have come across negative press about pet insurance and been discouraged from exploring it further? While there is certainly room for improvement in the pet insurance industry, it is important to not dismiss it entirely. Pet insurance has saved the lives of so many pets whose owners would otherwise not be able to afford treatment. Choosing the right pet insurance for your situation is important.

For example, many policies have low limits on payouts for tick paralysis treatment that will not provide adequate coverage for this condition. 

So in areas where paralysis ticks live, it is important to opt for policies with higher annual limits to ensure comprehensive coverage. Consulting with your Veterinarian can help navigate the complexities of pet insurance and find a policy that offers the appropriate coverage for your pet’s needs. For more information on this, refer to our blog on:

Insuring Your Pet’s Health: A Guide to Choosing the Right Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is an important tool for ensuring that your beloved companions receive the best possible care when they need it most. Whether it is emergency treatment or specialised procedures, pet insurance alleviates the financial burden, allowing pet owners to focus on what truly matters—the health and well-being of their furry family members. So, if you haven’t considered pet insurance yet, now might be the time to explore your options and safeguard your pet’s future.

Written by:

Dr Caroline Romeo
AREC Veterinary Director

Disclaimer: My support for pet insurance stems solely from my experience as a Veterinarian and my commitment to excellent animal care. Neither AREC or I have no conflicts of interest with pet insurance providers and we do not receive any discounts or incentives from insurers.


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