How much is your pet’s life worth?

You really love Spotty. She’s a one-in-a-million canine and for the past five years she has brought nothing but joy to your life. Then, she had a squabble with the next-door neighbour’s Doberman. You rushed her to the vet and got her stitched up. Thankfully everything went well and Spotty pulled through. And then you got the bill…

Pet owners know that pets are part of the family and, like other family members, injuries and illnesses are part and parcel of the deal. Taking care of pets and ensuring that they get good nutrition and vaccinations, results in pets living much longer than before. Just as with humans, when pets grow older, cancer and diseases such as kidney failure become more common. Although medical treatment for pets has become sophisticated, it also comes with a large price tag.

“We are seeing a huge increase in the pet insurance market,” says Peter Olyott, CEO of Indwe Risk Services. “It makes sense – just as you can’t afford huge hospital bills if one of your family members unexpectedly takes ill or is involved in an accident, you can’t afford the veterinary care your pet will need in the case of an unexpected event. Pet insurance is like medical aid for your cat, dog or pony.”

In the past, when pets got old and sick, euthanasia was inevitable, but veterinary medicine has advanced so much that nowadays pets can receive a similar standard of care to humans. For more and more conditions, treatment is available, albeit at a considerable cost.

Thirty years ago, it would have been completely acceptable to euthanise a cat with cancer, and in fact, it was the only real option available that would have spared your cat any suffering. Today, however, there are many life-extending options, although they tend to be extremely expensive. This places pet owners in an unfortunate position: do you give your animal the best care available or do you opt for “economic euthanasia”, when you can’t afford costly life-saving treatment?

Pet insurance can make all the difference. By removing cost as a factor in a pet treatment decision, you can avoid having to make a choice between care and cost. Furthermore, taking out pet insurance while your pet is young, will go a long way in avoiding exclusions like pre-existing conditions.

“Most of us have dogs or cats at home that our families adore,” Olyott says. “While they might be healthy today, you have no way of knowing what could happen in the future. We don’t want an expensive vet bill to be the reason a family has to make a heart-breaking decision. This is why Indwe is now offering PawPaw Pet Health Insurance to our clients.”

For a better society

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