RSPCA urge owners to insure their pets

The RSPCA is raising awareness about the importance of pet insurance as owners.

The oldest and biggest animal welfare charity is raising awareness on the importance of insuring pets to help with the cost of those unexpected accidents and illnesses and avoid hefty vet bills.

With pets visiting the vets around twice a year on average, keeping an animal can become expensive and any ongoing and unexpected vet treatments can quickly add up.

Now the RSPCA is raising awareness about the difficulty’s owners can face without insurance with owners revealing their own nightmare experiences.

Phil Sleight from Surrey was very worried when his cat Bella went missing for several days in August this year. She managed to drag herself back home but had most likely been hit by a car, or possibly fallen from a tree, and was suffering with a broken leg.

Phil said: “A few months after getting our cat Bella, we shopped around for pet insurance but with a combination of being busy working parents and forgetful we just never go around to putting a policy in place.

“Bella is an active outdoor cat and is only two years old. She is in and out frequently but then one day she just didn’t come home. A couple of days passed, and we were really worried so I went out looking for her after work, but didn’t find her. We live next to a busy road and I did fear the worst, but I couldn’t see or hear her on the side of the road.

“After being missing for three days, which felt like an eternity, I was sitting in the front room when I heard her meow. I raced to the front door and there she was staggering back. She looked awful, was covered in fleas and had a heavy limp. I took her straight to the local vet who examined her straight away. Whilst she was not bleeding externally, they said she was in need of a blood transfusion and had a broken leg. The x-ray revealed a number of breaks to her upper leg close to her hip, which the local vet said was beyond his expertise to repair.

Bella was referred to the orthopaedic and neurology specialists Fitzpatrick Referrals Clinic. Luckily, the veterinary practice were confident they could save her leg, but as Bella was uninsured the family were faced with a big decision to make. Amputation would be a considerable amount of money itself but repairing the leg with metal rods would cost in the regions of £5000.

Phil said: “We were given a few nights to make a decision because the focus was finding a suitable blood donor. After a blood donor was found, I quickly made the decision to go ahead with the repair, which I funded by getting a bank loan. I just wanted to give her the best quality of life possible as she was still so young – even if it did break the bank. I thought I could earn that money back, but she won’t grow another leg if we went down the amputation route.”

Thankfully the operation was a success and Phil was able to take Bella home that night. Although she was on cage rest for the next six weeks, she is now back to her normal energetic self again.

Phil added: “We just thought it would never happen to us. Needless to say, I have since taken our pet insurance and will encourage every other pet owner to do the same too.”