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I know there’s a ton of threads about insurance- I know there’s people who advocate both sides of the argument. I understand costs vary depending on where you live.. and I understand life doesn’t always give you the best hand of cards. I just quit Figo (was not too happy with them), and I’m in the middle of either jumping for Embrace, or just taking my chances..

I’m not sure if this is odd or not- but my vet noted something (they didn’t say exactly what the note said) regarding luxating patellas in 2017 & 2018, but noted the knees were fine in 2019. (Does that mean it’s not true luxating patellas since she was only 2 & 3 years old at the time? Or it healed itself?) The vet also noted one instance of “tense abdomen” (not sure what that’s supposed to mean). And my girl (she’s 8.72 lbs now) has an umbilical hernia which hasn’t really changed in 4 years. If the vet noted luxating patellas back when my pup was 2 years old... can I expect it to officially occur (as in.. to the point where it’s graded and you can see it) when she gets older? Can anyone say how likely it is to need surgery? She’s pretty active- running around, she’s not allowed to jump on & off furniture- at my house anyway. But she zooms up & down my set of ~14 stairs several times a day. She was also fixed at 3 months old (not by my choice- it’s the shelter’s policy before any dogs are adopted out)

I read a lot of posts saying everything gets more expensive as your pet gets older. But I also see a lot of the active members have standard poodles. And I hear big dogs have big expenses. So.. for us toy poodles (my girl is a toy mix) roughly what kind of expenses do you see? If you have insurance, what did your starting & ending premium look like? I think the biggest thing I’m worried about for toy poodles are the knees, correct? Or is there something else more likely to happen? Cancer? Thyroid? Auto immune? Just trying to get a rough idea of what to expect.. worried worried
Thank you for any responses! Happy Holidays & stay safe!
 

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Everything that has been written in your dog’s medical record is non-insurable. Which means you would only be covered for conditions that happen after your dog has been insured and after the usual delays of 30 days to a few months for certain conditions, depending on contract.

It’s hard to say how much a dog will cost in medical bills. In fact it’s impossible. One thing is for sure, surgeries are very expensive and can be necessary for any breed, big or small. Surgeries will cost thousands of dollars and even more with after care.

My advice is if you want insurance for your dog, do it fast. And consider all they will be excluded. It might not be worth it at all.
 

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I do self insure. Putting that aside though I would say that I don't know that prices for procedures are higher just because a dog is big. A grade 2 luxating patella still involves the same corrective procedure and actually could be easier if the dog and the patella are bigger. I won't take an oath on that, just a thought. More on your plate is that your dog does have preexisting conditions which as Dechi noted are not going to be covered.
 
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So.. for us toy poodles (my girl is a toy mix) roughly what kind of expenses do you see? If you have insurance, what did your starting & ending premium look like? I think the biggest thing I’m worried about for toy poodles are the knees, correct? Or is there something else more likely to happen? Cancer? Thyroid? Auto immune? Just trying to get a rough idea of what to expect.. worried worried
I think Dechi's correct about pet insurance not covering pre-existing conditions already recorded your vet's medical records.

Now, you didn't mention if Daisy, who is now around 5 years old, had DNA testing. There are some genetic conditions that cause blindness, muscular or neurological problems, etc. You can read about those here by clicking on the name of conditions that most commonly affect toy poodles. However she's a poodle mix, which means she could have hidden genetic condition from whatever other breed(s) she's mixed with. Or none.

So for a peace of mind, I recommend buying the saliva swab kit from Embark. Scroll down the page and select the delux 'Breed & Health' kit, now on sale for $149.

472134


Note that DNA tests do not exist for luxating patellas, cancer, heart, thyroid, or some other diseases. This can run in a dog's family tree, but can skip generations the same as with people.

Also a dog can be a carrier of genetic condition, such as PRA-prcd, which causes blindness as the dog gets older. As carrier, it would never be affected by this, so no need to worry. The problem is when two carriers have puppies; statistically some of those pups will be what they call affected and will develop the condition at some point.

Some other members here set aside money in their own private doggie account each month rather than pay for pet insurance to cover unexpected illness or accidents.
 

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Benjamin Franlkin - Senior Tpoo, Apple Butter - mpoo puppy
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I am a toy poodle owner who has shelled out the big bucks.... I wouldn't say he is less expensive than my bigger dogs! He's had lots of problems due to his size, actually. When he first got sick they worried about even a msall amount of weight loss because there was nothing to him to start with. Then, he needed extra hydration and blood sugar management due to his size. Then, they called in a special person to work on his little body because one person wasn't comfortable with his small size....

So. I don't think size has anything to do with it. :) I'd honestly consider self-insuring due to everything you already know about her that won't be covered. Plus, then if something terrible happened and you couldn't put food on the table, you'd also still have that money to help YOU out.

Could you save up enough for the world's best cancer treatments and stuff like that? Probably you won't. But I think it's a good balance in between being the most covered you possibly can and having no coverage.
 

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Vita I have a question about why you seem to recommend DNA testing at this point for the OPs dog. It seems like a way to put even more information into the dog's health records that would either exclude her from being insured for things DNA testing revealed or making insurance even more extravagant to pay for. Wouldn't it be better not to add those records if the OP does decide to pay for third party insurance? She isn't hiding anything if she honestly doesn't know such information.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh wow! I’m surprised to hear that- someone told me big dogs have big expenses. And at the time we were talking about health issues, not the usual daily expenses. I guess I just assumed it, maybe they were talking daily expenses then! 😆
Great points to think about! I was thinking about self insuring, but the fear of ‘what if’.. is strong. It’s not that I wouldn’t be able to pay, but it’d be a... bit.. painful.
Thank you for the responses so far! Still curious to see what others say they’ve experienced and expenses were like with insurance. I did play with multiple quote calculators, but not sure how accurate of a big picture that would be.
 

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I didn’t get insurance for my spoo based on past experiences where major items where denied coverage for my dog and cat. It wasn’t worth it based on the amount we paid out to insurance, what they didn’t cover and what we still had to pay. That being said, she got very sick a few months ago and spent 9 days in the emergency vet’s ICU before passing away. The total cost was just shy of $27k and insurance would have covered about $19k of that. It’s something you have to weigh the pros and cons with. For me personally, I would never wanted to be put in a position where I had to make a decision based on money for vet care. So I make sure that I always have an emergency fund that has enough to cover any unforeseen circumstances that is added to monthly.

It’s important to be aware of age, pre-existing conditions, how much it’s going to cost vs what it’s going to cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Oh wow, I’m so sorry to hear that!

Right... I don’t want to be in that situation either. I guess I’m wondering... how high these medical bills could possibly get... I heard some rough numbers before- $5k per leg/hip (for a big dog, not sure if it’s the same for a small dog- a vet tech I asked couldn’t say). $2k for cancer- but I’m guessing it varies depending on the type?

I was wondering that too, it may be more worth it to just pay the surgery itself vs paying insurance who would only cover a part of that... but on the other hand, no one can really say how many surgeries a pet could need in its life.... is aftercare expensive? Anyone have experiences with that? Just trying to get my head around it- like, you hear “expensive” but that could vary depending on the person- 1k for surgery could sound super expensive to some, but then you say ‘27k‘ and that’s like.. woah. So that’s what you mean by expensive.

I was considering Embrace- because they differentiate between curable and incurable pre-existing conditions... not sure if that note the vet said about the patellas are considered ‘curable’ since they said the knees were fine the following years. So I’m planning on asking for a medical history review- that should tell me what they cover and won’t. But I’m still on the fence about self insuring vs jumping for insurance..... I do like the idea of if it’s not needed, it’s still mine.
 

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Benjamin Franlkin - Senior Tpoo, Apple Butter - mpoo puppy
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Well. If you wanna hear our most recent vet expenses.... my tpoo was diagnosed with addison's and his ER care at the University of Minnesota was $7k. The imaging has been the most expensive it seems. Not many places do dog mri and echocardiograms....

Mya has IVDD and her surgery was $8k including after care. She is a bigger dog, 40some pounds.

We've had other vet emergencies and they usually hover around $800-1500 dollars. Im sure that would be higher or lower depending on the cost of living for wherever you are.

But to some of you reading, keep in mind that these were senior dogs coming from terrible conditions and not a well bred pup with health tested parents.
 

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I think any person that can find a way to pay for pet insurance should get it for their dog. My boy came from an amazing breeder. Both parents were health tested more than the breed club even requires. None of that did me any good when my dog tore his CCL at 18 months of age. In all the years my breeder has been doing this, she’s only had one dog tear its CCL. It happens.

The surgery cost over $3,000. That’s not including the cost to diagnose or the meds that he needed for aftercare. I filed the claim with my insurance, and I had 80% of the vet bill back in my bank account within 24 hours. The insurance has way more than paid for itself with very little hassle. I didn’t have to decline the medical procedure that was best for my dog because I couldn’t afford it. Insurance, to me, is a must.
 
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I personally believe that insurance for our dogs is one of the most important things to do.

My previous Poodle had some health issues and if it was not for her insurance, I am not sure how I would have been able to help her through the years!

Both in the past and now I have used PetsBest, and I have been very pleased with them. My recent puppy I just got a plan for her with unlimited annual limit, 90% co-insurance and $500 deductible. They do have some other options as well depending on what you want the plan to include and of course costs. My previous dog was similar but had a $5000 annual limit which unfortunately I hit very easily some years and beyond.

Edited to add - There is no way to tell what your dog can get down the road, except for testing for certain diseases. My dog mentioned above got Evan's Syndrome (auto immune disease), followed by diabetes which we believe was triggered by medication she was on for the above. I had to get yearly blood work done on her, she had several near death scares because we just could not regulate her diabetes well enough despite constant tests, plus medication she was on. And then accidents can happen as well, i.e. broken bones, getting hit by a car, perhaps a squabble between pets, etc. So for me, insurance brings a lot of peace of mind that I can help my loved one without being concerned with if I can afford it or not.
 

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Another option that has been discussed previously on PF but not mentioned here is CareCredit.
 
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Vita I have a question about why you seem to recommend DNA testing at this point for the OPs dog. It seems like a way to put even more information into the dog's health records that would either exclude her from being insured for things DNA testing revealed or making insurance even more extravagant to pay for. Wouldn't it be better not to add those records if the OP does decide to pay for third party insurance? She isn't hiding anything if she honestly doesn't know such information.
To Catherine, @JDn4G, and others. Say for example an owner has two females: Tulip whom she might use for breeding, and Pansy who has been spayed. When the results come back, both accounts are already set to private. The owner can set Tulip's to public to share with other breeders in her search for a stud dog, and even they will need the direct link to Tulip's account to see the results. Here's a random sample made public of a female poodle's results.

In other words, Embark has medical confidentiality (see link). I am not sure if insurance companies ask about this nowadays for each specific dog and want you sign a Release of Information to all the DNA companies that do genetic genetic testing, but I know they ask for vet records.

Until two months ago I used Healthy Paws for mine, and they never asked (not that it would have mattered since mine are clear), but I dumped them b/c they increased their prices and it seemed a waste of money since they're strictly house poodles. If they were farm dogs on many acres or I took them hunting trips where might get injured, that would be a different story. For me, I'd rather save the money in a piggy bank than fork over $1200/year and might not need it for another ten years.

Note: I have known one lady who set one of the test results (Degenerative Myelopathy aka DM) to private. She wanted to use her very pretty female to mate with my male. Because I am aware of the main poodle genetic conditions which all the DNA companies including Embark tests for, it was obvious that the DM test result was omitted. When I asked her why it wasn't there, she sent me some doctored up paperwork to prove her girl was clear, but I wasn't buying it, so I took a hard pass.

This was unnerving, and for potential puppy buyers, caveat emptor. I'm sure she would have lied by omission to them too.

But back to my suggestion of DNA testing for Daisy. JD you say you worry a lot about what might be in the future for her. I'm the kind of person who would rather know the worst of what's to come so I can mentally prepare, than worry for nothing if it's not in the cards. Everyone is different, like the lady who wrote this article, I Tested My Dog’s DNA, and I Kinda Wish I Hadn’t.
 

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Still curious to see what others say they’ve experienced and expenses were like with insurance. I did play with multiple quote calculators, but not sure how accurate of a big picture that would be.
I’m from Canada but here is what I pay for my toys. I started late so there are conditions that are not covered for my dogs. Both aren’t covered for digestive problems unless I get a vet to specify they are healthy one year after the incident happened (which I will). So this should be removed. Then, Merlin is not covered for patellas and/or heart. Unfortunately the vet detected a heart murmur just before I got him insured. And patellas were diagnosed as luxating when I got him at 16 months.

I pay 38$ per month for Merlin, 2000$ per accident or illness per year. No dental. Deductible 250$.
I pay 45$ per month for Beckie 2000$ per accident or illness with 500$ dental. Deductible 100$.
Total : 84$ per month for both.

Since Beckie went to the dermatologist a few times, that alone repaid for her insurance for the whole year. Since they pay well, I’ve decided 2000$ per accident or illness per year is not enough (surgeries cost at least 3000$) and I’ve asked the insurance company to up my insurance to 4000$ per accident or illness per year. They had to reopen my file and will give me their decision soon. Whatever conditions happened while I was insured for 2000$ will remain covered for a maximum of 2000$ per year (Beckie’s allergies). The rest should be covered for 4000$ if they accept my request. I would then be paying 121$/month for both dogs and it would also include 700$ dental per year for each dog.

With 4000$ insurance, I figure if Beckie or Merlin need a 6000$ surgery or care, I will be able to afford it with the insurance covering 4000$. With Merlin it’s more of a bet, since I will get nothing if he needs surgery for his patellas. He is a mild grade, so hopefully it won’t happen. Same for the heart. I’m lucky Beckie should be covered for everything since I waited so long (more than 3 years).

Lesson learned, next dog will be insured as a tiny puppy, before the vets have time to find anything wrong...
 

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Health care is SO expensive! I looked into having Sammy covered by Embrace at 12 weeks old. It was not a huge monthly expense, but it did not cover as much as I wanted it to. I would still have to pay the majority of cost. I'd rather put the cash amount into a fund for him.

I have been very lucky I have had 3 dogs ( before Sammy) that lived beyond 16 yrs.) and had no health problems. To me, insurance value is dependent on a case/case basis. It would have cost me alot, for dogs that did not need it and when they were just old, it would not have covered anything.
 

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I have Embrace with Misha. It is somewhere around $38 a month I think. I haven't had to use it yet... knock on wood.
 

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I know there’s a ton of threads about insurance- I know there’s people who advocate both sides of the argument. I understand costs vary depending on where you live.. and I understand life doesn’t always give you the best hand of cards. I just quit Figo (was not too happy with them), and I’m in the middle of either jumping for Embrace, or just taking my chances..

I’m not sure if this is odd or not- but my vet noted something (they didn’t say exactly what the note said) regarding luxating patellas in 2017 & 2018, but noted the knees were fine in 2019. (Does that mean it’s not true luxating patellas since she was only 2 & 3 years old at the time? Or it healed itself?) The vet also noted one instance of “tense abdomen” (not sure what that’s supposed to mean). And my girl (she’s 8.72 lbs now) has an umbilical hernia which hasn’t really changed in 4 years. If the vet noted luxating patellas back when my pup was 2 years old... can I expect it to officially occur (as in.. to the point where it’s graded and you can see it) when she gets older? Can anyone say how likely it is to need surgery? She’s pretty active- running around, she’s not allowed to jump on & off furniture- at my house anyway. But she zooms up & down my set of ~14 stairs several times a day. She was also fixed at 3 months old (not by my choice- it’s the shelter’s policy before any dogs are adopted out)

I read a lot of posts saying everything gets more expensive as your pet gets older. But I also see a lot of the active members have standard poodles. And I hear big dogs have big expenses. So.. for us toy poodles (my girl is a toy mix) roughly what kind of expenses do you see? If you have insurance, what did your starting & ending premium look like? I think the biggest thing I’m worried about for toy poodles are the knees, correct? Or is there something else more likely to happen? Cancer? Thyroid? Auto immune? Just trying to get a rough idea of what to expect.. worried worried
Thank you for any responses! Happy Holidays & stay safe!
I do not have health insurance on either of the 2 Standards I have now. Which, in hindsight has been a big mistake. Over the years with both of them I have had issues requiring very expensive consults and treatments with specialists from things like a severe rabies vaccine reaction with one who I almost lost (neurologists, ophthalmologists, MRIs, spinal taps, etc.), injuries from agility competition, etc. to just things that can happen in everyday life. I know a lot of people say they self insure by putting money aside every month and that is great if you are able to put substantial money aside each month and are lucky and have no major issues for years....But one serious injury could wipe you out just like that. Suppose you put aside $500 a month in an account (which is way less than you will pay for top of the line health insurance) so you have $6,000 saved in a year. Assume you paid normal vet bills in that year which is not usually covered by insurance - annual well check/blood work/vaccinations or titers outside that saved aside amount. So you have $6,000. Suppose you got through year 2 or even 3 without issues and you have $18,000 in your account. Then, your dog has an issue and needs a consult with a specialist, or perhaps more than one. MRIs or multiple MRIs are needed for comparison. Hospitilazion is needed for multiple days/nights....Or major surgery is needed... You can go through $18,000 of your reserves from years in a flash...I'd much rather gamble on the smaller amount per year for insurance and never have to recap it, but if I do, want to not worry about having to turn down recommended treatment because I couldn't afford it. My next puppy will be insured before I ever bring her home....
 
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Discussion Starter #20
So much information, thank you all for your input and experiences!!!! I really appreciate it!
 
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