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Barney's Story

It was a Sunday when Barney, the 8-and-a-half-year-old Doberman x Blue Heeler woke up and made his way to the kitchen for breakfast. Tammi detected a slight limp, barely noticeable at first, and kept a close eye on him. As the day progressed, Barney’s limp continued to worsen. It was at this point that a lump behind his right shoulder was found.

24 hours, a visit to local vet Dr. Marcus, and one biopsy later, Barney’s results came back with no cause for alarm. However, over the next week, Barney maintained his limp through painkillers, so the decision was made to remove the lump. The bill was $1,500.

The prognosis for his recovery seemed optimistic at first, but just 45 minutes later, Barney began to bleed profusely at the wound site. At the advice of Dr. Marcus, Tammi and Tom rushed Barney to a 24-hour vet hospital, where they found out his blood levels had dropped from 55 at the beginning of the day, down to 24. An overnight stay was required, where he then stabilised. The bill was $2,500.

To determine what was causing Barney’s bleed, diagnostic testing had to be carried out. When Registered Specialist in small animal internal medicine, Dr. Lucia Yu, spoke with Tammi and Tom, she outlined the tests needed for a diagnosis:

  • A full body ultrasound
  • CT scans
  • Multiple organ biopsies.

The price quoted for these tests was $6,500. Now, every vet understands that the point of conversation with patients where price comes into the equation can be very difficult. But in this case, Tammi and Tom said yes without hesitation. It was okay, they said, because they had pet insurance.

With the go-ahead readily obtained, Dr. Yu got to work on testing. Unfortunately, she discovered the worst-case scenario: Hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the blood vessels, had been detected all throughout Barney’s body. At best, he had one month.

While this is the sort of outcome every pet owner fears most, Dr. Yu was able to do everything she could to help Barney through his cover with Vets Choice. She was also able to give Tammi and Tom the peace of mind of knowing that there was nothing that had caused it, nothing could have prevented it, and unfortunately, nothing that could cure it. 

Because financial constraints weren’t an issue, Tammi and Tom were able to give Barney the very best palliative care he deserved. He passed peacefully at his local vet, with his owners by his side. The final bill was $1,100. Altogether, the total cost of Barney’s care totalled $11,600.

Vets face the task of treating furry family members to the best of their ability every day, but sometimes, there’s just no way of fixing them. In cases like these, providing peace of mind to pet owners can be the biggest help you can offer.

With pet insurance in place, the burden of cost can at least be alleviated. This allows vets to do everything possible for pets in their care, knowing their owners won’t need to fret about the financial side of what can already be a distressing experience.

At Vets Choice, part of our mission is to help vets and their owners have all the support they can get through the hardest of times. To find out how you can become protected with Vets Choice, find out more on our dog and cat insurance pages, or get a quote today.