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Bloody pet insurance - what on earth are my options?

(14 Posts)
LFCisTarkaDahl Mon 29-Oct-12 11:30:09

My lovely old boy is in the vets - he's had 6 seizures and they currently suspect liver cancer and want to rule that out first - it's £1800 for the needle biopsy plus scan/full bloods. That's all fine, totally get that.

However they think once they've ruled that out that they will then need to do an MRI (cost £1700) - so that will be £3,500 to get to a diagnosis.

Leaving only 500 max for treatment under the insurance - Direct Line are now only covering up to 4,000 per condition. What a fabulous return on £80 per month for the last 10 years.

What are my options sad After reading everything about canine cancer (and knowing a fair bit about human cancer) it seems that the studies only suggest that it buys up to an extra 3-6 months anyway if using chemo/radio/surgery.

I totally get that for a human it's a thought out choice to have that procedure but for my lovely dog he won't (obviously) understand and he will hate to be away from us.

I'm rambling, very stressed, very sad - any thoughts?

throckenholt Mon 29-Oct-12 11:47:27

For me, I would not put him through all that. I would ask about palliative care, and plan to put him to sleep when his quality of life is no longer ok.

It is tough when they get old sad

vampirestakeknickers Mon 29-Oct-12 11:50:04

I too would be thinking this is the time to start looking at what will make him comfortable rather than what will prolong his life. So sorry Tarka.

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 29-Oct-12 11:53:33

I hate to say this, but I would not want to put him under the stress sad

Obviously the money comes into it as well but foremost is the stress and pain/discomfort he will go through for an extra 3-6 months and then be faced with deterioration again??

I think it is prolonging the inevitable unfortunately.

I speak from experience too - parent's old dog PTS last year, Dad refused to let him go and just wanted to keep going with treatments (against vet and mum's advice/opinion) and ultimately he suffered more than he should. Dad did this through love/not wanting to let go, which is understandable.

Not an easy decision and I feel for you being put in this position. Unfortunately it is a position most pet owners have to face at some point sad

safflower Mon 29-Oct-12 11:54:50

Oh dear this is terribly sad.

Perhaps if I was in your shoes, I think I would have the diagnosis and then if it is terminal then have the old boy pts. That way you will know for sure what is wrong. Otherwise you will be forever thinking what if it wasn't cancer.

I had directline too, with the 4,000 max and used it all, then carried on paying. Nightmare. It wasn't for cancer though. Is yours one where you have to settle with the vet first, because of course that is another nightmare, finding the 4 grand to start with.

midori1999 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:55:00

I would ask what they'd suggest if you didn't have insurance. I'm nota vet, but the testing involved sounds excessive to me, especially for an older dog that may not have long left anyway.

LFCisTarkaDahl Mon 29-Oct-12 11:55:53

Thanks for answering, those are my sort of thoughts anyway. I can't believe it's going to cost the pet insurance company £3,500 to diagnose cancer and then I'm going to have to put him down. Not immediately hopefully - but soon-ish.

I'm having a horrible time with my elderly animals - I also have 3 14 year old cats - one of them (uninsured as rescued him when too old) has cost £2,200 this year so far, the other 2 are getting really old looking and now my doggy - the whole thing is just too heartbreaking sad

I will never get another animal, I love them too much and the loss of all 4 in the next year or two is going to wipe me out.

midori1999 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:56:19

And get a second opinion from another vet.

I'm sorry about your dog.

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 29-Oct-12 11:59:14

sad so sorry OP.

My pets are 6, 4 and 1....is hard to imagine when they get old, I will be like you, no more - it is too much pain!

Mum and dad have never got another dog, they have always had dogs but the last one broke their hearts totally sad

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 29-Oct-12 12:06:55

When I work up and treat older patients I always apply the 'Is it going to change what we do' logic to anything. That is are the results of the test going to change the treatment of the pet, if the answer is no whilst the test is lovely for me as a scientist it is not necessary for the pet.
Ask about the MRI is it giving a diagnosis going to actually change the treatment of your dog. I always advise owners to be frank with the vets at referral centres about the money and about what you as an owner want for your pet. Most of them are brillant when given this frank discussion and will work on the best quality of life outcome for the pet.

LFCisTarkaDahl Mon 29-Oct-12 12:14:03

If they don't know it's definitely a brain tumour (which they think they will get from the MRI and CSF) then will they be able to treat it in any way ? Lonecat?

1MitchellMum Mon 29-Oct-12 15:26:58

Sorry to hear what you're both going through. What makes vet think it's liver cancer? Have you had blood tests done? I had a dog with liver cancer, the liver enzyme levels were sky high ... if you wanted to let me know what they were (ALP and AKLP from memory) I'll dig out the notes from 2002 and let you know the normal ranges. It seems odd to diagnose liver cancer just from fitting, but maybe there's other symptoms too? How old's your boy? What breed is he? It's not easy to think straight on these occasions ...

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 29-Oct-12 20:41:32

Tarka I think you need to ask if it is a brain tumour do they think they can treat it or will it be about controlling the symptoms you can already see.

LFCisTarkaDahl Tue 30-Oct-12 13:00:06

I'd like to thank you all for your input, it's enabled me to have a frank conversation with the vets.

The scan/biopsy is now not going to be done as there's little point diagnosing if we're not going to treat the suspected cancer with surgery/chemo/radio - he also has a heart murmur so I feel for me that the risks of anaesthetic for the scan (and then another anesthetic for the MRI) is just too much.

So they're going to scan for the heart murmur and then send him home with me to administer rectal diazepam if/when he has further seizures - and then we will make the absolute most of the time he has left.until his seizures become too great and then we will have him euthanised.

I'm pissed off that he's been away in that horrible crate at the vets for 2 days but hopefully I can make sure that his remaining weeks/months are filled with Kones/steak and cuddles. smile

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