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Should I insure my guinea pigs?

SHOULD I INSURE MY GUINEA PIGS?

We were inspired to write this post following the recent findings of the Burgess Guinea Pig Census. There were some encouraging results about the general care and wellbeing of guinea pigs, but we were struck by the statistic that only 3% of those surveyed had their guinea pigs insured.

We are part of that 3% and do have insurance for our guinea pigs. We have also had to make claims on a number of occasions. Now, maybe we have been unlucky, or maybe we have just been conscientious as regards the health care and needs of our rescue piggies. Either way, we have certainly had an education in some of the health issues faced by guinea pigs. We will no doubt keep learning as the years go on.

The reality of caring for guinea pigs is that they are small creatures, which can make treatments challenging. As the percentage of domestic pets that are small animals is considerably smaller than that of the dog and cat market for example, there is less funding available for veterinary research and licensing of medication. This can mean that many health problems in guinea pigs can be very difficult (or even impossible) to treat. It can also mean that relatively simple issues become expensive to deal with.

Whilst at HayPigs! we have had some piggies that have hardly ever needed a trip to the vet, we have also had those that have required lengthy – and costly – treatment. Some of these treatments would not have been possible to treat in the way we did without the insurance we had.

Tumours, ovarian cysts, osteodystrophy, kidney issues and bone infections are a list of just some of the more serious conditions we’ve encountered. These are not health issues you can necessarily foresee when you bring a new piggy into your home. However, alongside the joy of a new ‘fur-baby’ must also come consideration for how you will fund their care should health problems arise. There is no NHS for animals!

For example, take one case from our personal experience; a ‘difficult to treat’ bone infection, where the total cost for the treatment was just shy of £2,000. Of this (aside from the relevant excess payments) the majority was paid by our insurance company. We have sometimes wondered if it is better to put away the money you would spend on an insurance policy into a savings account and then use it if necessary. But (believe me, I have done the calculations) this would not have been enough money to cover treatment costs in this instance.

The truth is, you could still end up spending a lot of money even with insurance in place for your piggies. As well as your monthly insurance payments, you may encounter smaller issues that may not warrant a claim being processed but still need attention. This could be £50 here or £100 there…it all adds to the overall cost! Having said that, when it comes to unforeseen serious health problems like our example above, an insurance policy can mean the difference between being able to treat your guinea pig or not.

Now, we’re not trying to put people off! Guinea pigs really are fabulous additions to our family. They are gorgeous little critters and we love them just the way they are. But the reality is, the cost implications of these fluffy potatoes can be HUGE! Before these animals steal a piece of your heart, do spare a thought for how you would fund the vet bills. An insurance policy may feel like costly extra payment to add to the ever-growing list of monthly direct debits. But, would you be comfortable making a decision of what treatment you can offer to your pet based on whether you can afford it or not?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Do you have your guinea pigs insured or not? If you don’t, how do you deal with unplanned trips to the vet? Please feel free to comment below!

Thanks for reading and wheek soon!