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Old 07.09.2015, 16:15
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The importance of emergency pet funds.

Hi EFers,


In Romandie a cat owner couldn't pay for emergency accident treatment up front. The emergency vet then refused treatment and by the time the owner got the cat to a vet who checked her, it was too late and the cat died.

Apparently cost for treatment would've been more than 1k which the owner says she would've paid (the bill - but she didn't have the money on her at the time of treatment).

Source


So - cat and other pet owners, make sure you have a generous financial cushion for your pet's emergency treatment so that you don't end up in a situation like this one, as vets often request up front payment due to abuse of the system (nonpayment of bills after treatment).
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Old 07.09.2015, 21:03
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

How very sad.

Both emergency clinics in my area ask that you pay the fee in full at the time of service - that is, at the conclusion of the appointment, after the animal has been examined and/or treated, or when you pick up your animal after a hospital stay. That policy is understandable and fair. But they start treatment right away, no payment needed upfront.

Back when I first moved here it was common for small practice vets to send out a Rechnung once a month - one didn't need to pay at time of service. Today that model is very rare; as with so much today, people must now be abusing the system.

I've had my share of veterinary emergencies over the years. You are right to point out that every pet owner should have a hefty sum tucked away, 'just in case'.

Every pet owner should also have a discussion, now, with your vet as to what the procedure is in your area for after hours emergencies. You don't want to be scrambling around trying to figure out what to do and where to go when your pet is gravely ill, as in that poor lady in the article.

Last edited by meloncollie; 08.09.2015 at 03:03. Reason: clarification
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Old 07.09.2015, 22:53
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

There is a bank machine across the road from the vet clinic we use for treatment. This is very convenient. The vet clinic only accepts cash for their services during regular hours and emergency care has the same payment terms, cash only plus an after hours surcharge. The vet knows us for many years and I cannot imagine us being denied treatment. We never pay at the start of the treatment.

The larger animal hospitals we have been to accept credit cards or Maestro card. We have never been asked for payment up front.
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Old 07.09.2015, 23:00
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

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How very sad.

Both emergency clinics in my area ask that you pay the fee in full at the time of service or when you pick up your animal, which is understandable. But they start treatment right away.

Back when I first moved here it was common for small practice vets to send out a Rechnung once a month - one didn't need to pay at time of service. Today that model is very rare; as with so much today, people must now be abusing the system.

I've had my share of veterinary emergencies over the years. You are right to point out that every pet owner should have a hefty sum tucked away, 'just in case'.

Every pet owner should also have a discussion, now, with your vet as to what the procedure is in your area for after hours emergencies. You don't want to be scrambling around trying to figure out what to do adn where to go when your pet is gravely ill.
The abuse of the system might change if insurance for pets were mandatory, but even then, only if insurances didn't exclude so many conditions. This way, pet owners could simply produce proof of current insurance coverage and then get treated.
But as pet owners - different from Swiss residents - can decide if they want to insure their pets and be relatively (not completely) safe financially in case of emergency or if they want to pay for treatment out of pocket and hope for the best pet health-wise, this won't happen soon.

Perhaps an alternative to your suggestion for those who have insurance for their pets would be to ask vet if he accepts coverage by your chosen pet insurance and if proof of current insurance coverage is sufficient to receive treatment in case of emergency.

No matter if you have insurance or not:
1. Ask vet if he can - after you have been a "good" client payment-wise for a set number of treatments - agree to provide emergency treatment without the full up-front payments, e.g. you pay CHF 300 up front and then the rest within 14 days of completion of treatment.
2. Ask vet if he charges extra for out-of-hours emergency treatment and if you could pay him that extra amount in advance for such treatments. E.g. he charges CHF 50 per out-of-hours treatment, you pay him CHF 150 while your pet is healthy and he thus agrees to treat your pet and bill you (with a payment window of 14-30 days) after treatment for the next three emergencies. Regular treatments (vaccinations, diabetes meds, etc.) are excluded from this regulation, you pay those up front as usual.

With pets come obligations, and to those obligations belongs the pets' healthcare. Doing the best you can to ensure that care is provided inside and outside of emergencies benefits both your pet (no tragedies like the one in 20min) and your wallet (no poursuites etc. for unpaid treatments).

@Today only: Care to explain the groan?

Last edited by glowjupiter; 07.09.2015 at 23:56. Reason: clarification
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Old 07.09.2015, 23:15
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

My friends in the UK and I have frequently discussed the pros and cons of pet insurance. It seems to be the 'done thing' there, not so much here.

One thing that strikes me is how expensive even routine vet care seems to be in the UK compared to Switzerland. Several friends have commented that before insurance became so widespread prices were quite a bit lower. Now... causation, correlation, or happenstance? Who knows.

But at least I don't have the headaches my friends ergularly do, having to battle with their insurers to get their pets treated.

I adopt senior dogs or dogs with known health concerns - I doubt an insurer would be willing, let alone able, to offer me a cost effective comprehensive policy.

Fortunately routine care is still a good value here, which makes it easier to put a bit aside regularly to take the sting out of emergency and catastrophic illnesses.
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Old 07.09.2015, 23:15
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

I had to take one of our guinea pigs to the vet as an emergency last Friday evening. No payment was asked for up front and when I asked about paying when I was leaving the vet said he'd send the bill.

We do take all the animals to him for their various treatments so he does know us which could make a difference I guess but when our pet sitter had to rush our cat to the emergency vet whilst we were on holiday a couple of years ago they didn't have to pay anything either.

We don't have insurance but do have money put aside for 'pet emergencies'.

Pet insurance in the UK is big business and is pretty expensive and even if you have it the insurers do their utmost to try to wriggle out of paying. Sister in law had terrible trouble trying to get them to fork out for necessary treatment on their St Bernard as they argued that it was a known issue with that breed but she did manage to get reimbursed in the end.
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Old 07.09.2015, 23:29
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

We had the same happen in the USA ? They wouldnt touch him unless I paid right then and there.....2k and a lot of spagetti meals later turned out he had a stuck fart........
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Old 08.09.2015, 03:26
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

Come to think of it, I've had several emergency visits where I have not had to pay until later:

I've not had to pay at time of service when my emergency visits to the Tierspital happen in the middle of the night, despite it being policy to pay before taking the animal home. There is no admin staff there at 2AM to process a payment, so they simply send me a bill.

Ditto emergencies at Hünenberg, again despite policy. When my sitter had to bring Haifisch in - again after hours - for what ultimately ended up an amputation and long hospital stay they simply told her not to worry, they would settle the bill with me later.

And once I found an injured cat while out walking the mutts. I just scooped the cat up and dashed to the vet, forgetting that I never carry my wallet with me on walks. No worries, the cat was treated immediately and I paid the next day.

However, in all cases I was a regular customer with a good relationship with the practice and a good payment history. They knew there was no risk.

If I had gone to a new vet or clinic where I had no history, though, I doubt I would have received the same consideration.
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Old 08.09.2015, 10:12
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

I think this also shows how important it is to have a vet you can trust and who knows you and your pet.

If you've been going to the same vet for years and always payed your bills promptly I think they are more likely to cut you some slack in an emergency than if you walk up to a place where you've never been seen before and where they fear you may never return and they'll have no way of recovering their costs.
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Old 08.09.2015, 10:19
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Re: The importance of emergency pet funds.

When we were living in Germany there was a tramp who used to sit outside the supermarket where we shopped and ask people for small change. If we had time we sometimes stopped to chat to him or buy him a coffee or something to eat.

He always had a dog with him. The dog was well behaved and well looked after.

One day the dog wasn't there so we asked him and he told us, with tears in his eyes, that the dog had been run over and was now in the hospital.

The next week we saw him again and the dog was back, but completely stitched up and bandaged. We told him we were happy to see his dog was back. He broke out in tears again and said yes, the dog was all he had in his life. He told us the vet had stitched everything up and taken good care of the dog in a long and difficult operation. When at the end of it he had come to pick up the dog he had asked how much it would cost, saying he was a poor tramp without much money. The vet had said,for you it's 5 DM.

So there are still vets out there with their heart in the right place.
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