Dog owner hit with $10K medical bill, what you need to know about pet insurance

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It was an emergency they were not prepared for, and now one pet owner has a medical bill over $10,000. Thanos, a 2-year-old American Bully, is currently on medication. What started as a procedure for bladder stones turned into a bigger surgery.

“We’ll do whatever we can to help Thanos, but in the end, it ended up costing over $10,000,” said pet owner Reiko Lovan. “It was either that or euthanize, and I was like, being that, you know, Thanos is a part of our family, I’m like, that wasn’t an option for us.”

For Lovan and her husband who grew up with dogs, they were suddenly navigating through unfamiliar territory.

“He’s never experienced any of that before, and so like, I guess we just never thought like, hey, get pet insurance,” she said.

Thanos is recovering, and Lovan says a lot of hard lessons were learned. She now has pet insurance and recommends other pet owners at least look into it.

Veterinarian Dr. Joanna Cook at Alii Animal Hospital and Resort explains pet insurance could be anywhere from $25 to $75 a month.

“It allows you to provide care for your pet and allows us to provide the best medicine for your pet,” said Dr. Cook. “The limitation with pet insurance is they won’t cover pre-existing disease. So if you get the pet insurance right when your dog or cat has a clean bill of health, the pet insurance doesn’t have anything to not cover. They will cover everything moving forward.”

Dr. Cook also says some pet owners may have higher payments for a pure breed versus a mixed breed dog because of breed predispositions. Many pet insurances cover up to 90%, so folks should do their research.

“For hospitalization alone, if your dog comes in, they’re having vomiting, they have diarrhea, and they need to be hospitalized for 24 to 48 hours — it’s going to be anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 dollars just for hospitalization, fluids, and medication,” she said. “If you’re going to need an orthopedic surgery, depending on what type, usually it starts about $5,000, so that’s a very big expense, especially if you haven’t planned for it.”

If you would like to learn more about Thanos’ story and help support the Lovans, please click here.

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