Monday, June 25, 2012

Importance of Wellness Visits + a Financial Plan, A Guest Blog By Heather Kalinowski Of Trupanion Insurance

Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and new mom who spends her days helping other pet owners protect their pets with dog and cat insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if a pet becomes sick or injured.

Today, cats are not just pets, they are family members. And, like we would for any family member, we will always try to protect our beloved cats from anything that may cause them harm. But these curious creatures have a way of surprising us, and it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected.

Most veterinarians encourage you to schedule once- or twice-yearly wellness visits, even if your cat is healthy. These visits serve many purposes – they confirm your cat is up-to-date on vaccinations and dental cleanings, they help strengthen the relationship you and your cat have with your veterinarian, and most importantly they help ensure that any illnesses or injuries your cat may be suffering from are caught as early as possible.

Cats are instinctually solitary animals and they tend to hide any health problems from their families. This could mean that once they start showing signs, the illness or injury could be quite advanced, requiring extensive treatment.

Pre-screening during wellness exams will catch any health concerns they may be hiding, allowing you to start treatment as early as possible, saving your cat from extended periods of pain and suffering. Ultimately, this leads to a better quality of life for your cat – and you! What follows, however, is an emotional burden that is often heightened by the financial stress of paying for treatment.
Cody and "Dr.Smiley"

For many of us, our love for our pets has no financial limit, and we develop a plan for these unexpected expenses. There are several ways to pay for unexpected veterinary bills, such as credit cards, savings accounts, pet insurance, and borrowing from friends and family members. Whatever the option, having a plan is vital so we can easily say “yes, do what you need to do to save my pet.”

Unprepared pet owners are forced to opt for less effective treatment, no treatment, or in the worst situations, euthanasia. Pairing a scheduled wellness plan with a financial plan for treatment costs will help ensure that the furry member of the family will have the best chance at living a long and healthy life filled with many more playful moments.

Does your cat see his or her veterinarian regularly? Are you prepared for those unexpected expenses that might present themselves?


  1. Hear hear , good advice! Have a great day!
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Good advice!! I have a special credit card for the cats' bills only to be settled later with the insurance but vets need paying then and there and so the card is so handy for that! Awww love the pic of Cody with his favourite vet! LOL!! Take care

  3. @Old Kitty very smart! Like the idea of having a card just for the vet. Might do that myself! That is an "oldie but goodie" of Cody lol! xoxoxo

    @Molly I agree! you have a great day as well!

  4. That is such good advice and such a good idea to do those vet check-ups. We don't get to do as many as we would like with so many cats here but if anyone looks the least bit puny, off the go to the vet and our vet is so great about giving us discounts. Have a great day

  5. Let's just say that Mastercard loves our mom. And so does the bank, since she's had to remortgage twice for debt, much of it vet bills. A third time is looming, we're sure.

    The obscenely high cost of vet care is why she says she won't be able to adopt again, frankly.

  6. The only purpose taking your cat to the vet twice a year serves is to stress out your pet, which ultimately takes years off their lives. The 2 of TW's cats who lived the longest were the ones who she stopped taking for their "wellness" exams and vaccines when they were around 3 or 4 years old.

  7. Once a year Austin can just about tolerate, but boy can he hold a grudge!!! As a cat that goes outdoors I think it is important he is screened and vaccinated. But I know some folk are against that … at least in the UK :(

  8. That really is good advice and we get checked way more than we would like!

  9. Mom has a skeptical view of "medicine" in particular and she worries about too much medical intervention in the form of vaccines and pills. So far we have all been pretty healthy and she hopes that remains so. But she would not hesitate to take us to the Vet if needed.


  10. We've never never had insurance and Everyone too old now. Our mobile vet practically lives at our house. Most vets will give discounts, you have to ask.

  11. Brian we are with you. We do all of our regular exams. Our Angel Bobo also had all of his regular exams and as a Senior he went to the vet at least every six months and he lived to the ripe old age of 18!!

    @Fuzzy Tales we have the same problem. Even if we were allowed to have more pets in our condo, we can't afford it :(

    @Marg we are glad to hear that! Layla also gave some very good advice that most vets WILL give a discount, you just have to ask!

  12. First of all, that is terrific advice! I wish it was possible for us but with 30+ cats I'm not sure what the insurrance company would think - but it's brilliant.
    Secondly, Caren, you are one plucky lady!! I loved the story of you pursuing the man in your life - a woman just knows, doesn't she?!, and then she has to follow her heart!!
    Thirdly, about your babies... I'm completely the same - I now have 30+ babies and love them all to bits and bits. Turns out there was a reason the whole time along why I never had any children - or the urge to have any (in spite of how strange everyone seemed to think that was!). I still get misty eyed at you mentioning your baby Bobo... what a darling beautiful little soul he was. And Cody and Dakota - they're obviously soul mates :-)
    Fourthly, I'd no idea of your kidney condition. It sounds horrible and painful... I hope you're alright again Caren and I
    hope you've recovered well from teh recent treatment and wish you the very best for July 11. I had a long surgery back in Denmark and whilst I should NOT have been travelling one week after surgery, there was nothing that could keep me back as I NEEDED to go back home to my babies! I've been crazy depleted but am getting there again.
    Ok, won't take up more comment space... just a HUGE hug and kiss
    - and to your babies too :-)
    From Joan

  13. now ya tell us! Mom spend $11,000 on my Lily in 4 months and she i still not finished!
    Benny & Lily

  14. We go once a year for check ups and shots, and more as needed. We have been fortunate, nothing major in many years. The mom did spend $1500 in less than 3 months trying to stabilize a kitty with diabetes. Sadly, we were never able to accomplish it and he had a stroke because of it and had to be euthanized.

  15. Yes we took your advise and installed email....
    Benny & Lily

  16. I have thought about getting insurance for Katie.

  17. Rochester breaks the bank for me .. literally. $2,500 last month for surgery (hip dysplasia). I didn't have pet insurance; maybe I should have. The only help I had was a benefit program I get at work called Pet Assure, which gave me a 25% discount off the surgery.

  18. nice advice on other counts, but a word of caution about this particular pet insurance - my mommeh hadded Trupanion for her Kittehs Who Came Before and she says they did "c-r-a-p" for her. neber returned calls or reimbursed for anyfing at all. so if anybuddy is considering, just be careful.

  19. AttieCattie -
    So sorry I didn't see your comment earlier. I never like to hear about bad experiences with our company - we truly are here to help pets and want all our pet owners to be able to afford the best care available. I'm happy to talk to you about your friend's specific experience - you can call at 206.607.1878.
    ~Heather @ Trupanion

  20. @Attie I am sorry I didn't see this comment either...I had recent experience with Trupanion that wasn't at all like what you stated. I submitted a claim for Dakota (pretty sure it wouldn't be covered because my deductible hadn't been met yet which was to be expected and isn't negative)...I received emails from someone named Jackie every step of the way. She kept me apprised as to the status of my claim as well as the final outcome. Attie, I am sorry you experienced this but from my experience (so far) and from those that I know that have Trupanion Insurance, that isn't the norm. I would give Heather a call, I am sure she will be a huge help to you

    @Bernie hope thank you for sharing your experience!

    @Katie I think it is a good idea. I got mine for Cody and Dakota BEFORE something were to happen.

    @Oui Oui OMG I am so sorry! I just saw this. My heart is breaking for you!

    @Benny & Lily yep and we are THRILLED that you did!

    @Joan I feel awful that I didn't see this til now! I am soooo sorry!!!! Email me!