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Vet bill and insurance

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drt1710
drt1710 Posts: 28 Forumite
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Hi

Sorry for such a long post, but I've tried to put as much info in as possible

I took my 6-month-old Bichon Frise to Vets4Pets to be spayed at a cost of over £350.

The operation was successful on the day, my dog came home and seemed fine.  There was however an extra charge of £17 for painkillers, they said they gave her paracetamol as they "thought she was going to be a princess", which I thought was a bit rude, my dog gave no indication this would be the case.

Over the next couple of days, she seemed to be ok and took things easy, but then she started getting diarrhoea.

This got worse it was becoming quite violent to the point she was doing it overnight in her bed, then she stopped eating, and hardly drinking and then she started being sick.  I rang the vets for advice and was told, oh it's probably normal after the operation, stop being silly.

The next day she was so lifeless I was so worried that I rang again and took her to the vets.  

I was told that it could not possibly be the spay operation that caused it, I was questioned about what flea treatment I used, what wormer, what food, errrr supplied by you, and the same food she's been on for the last 6 months.  

So they admitted her to the hospital and I went home.  

6 hours later I got a phone call, and was told that she was on painkillers, antibiotic drip and fluids and was much better and really happy with them so it must be something I was doing at home.  I felt gutted and so angry that they would say this to me.

Anyway, I picked her up later that day.  She still have upset stomach for a few days but improved.  

I paid the excess, but the bill for £800 went to the insurance company.  

A few days later I got an email from the insurers saying that they won't pay as the hospital visit and illness was a result of an elective surgery!

I replied and asked for clarification as the vets told me that the spay was not to blame for the infection.

They replied with the vet's clinical notes saying that they could not rule out the spay causing an infection but it could also have been anything else.

So the question is, should the insurance pay up as there is no proof that the spay DID cause the infection?

Also, if the insurance company don't pay up, and if the infection was caused by the spay, should the vet profit so much by something they possibly caused?

Sorry again for such a long post.

Duncan



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  • LinLui
    LinLui Posts: 315 Forumite
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    Not the first (and won't be the last) time I have heard bad things about Vets4Pets, I wouldn't let any creature of mine in the door. Be that as it may....

    What exactly do the terms of your policy say? It seems like a rubbish policy that fully excludes treatment for an infection caused by routine surgery that is widely recommended - I just checked my policy and it doesn't exclude claims arising from elective surgery. 

    That said, and I wish to revisit the whole "I would not let a pet of mine through the door of that company", I don't think that you can say that the vet is to blame for anything other than being rude, obnoxious, and a waste of space on the planet. Surgery has a routine risk of infection, whether it's a dog or a human. It is a risk that should be explained (there's often something written in post-operative care notes), so unless you can show evidence that the vet has specifically done something which actually caused an infection (unclean tools, unclean operating room etc) then you cannot say they caused it. In fact, there is a very good chance that it was something outside the vets and possibly in your home - our environment (and even us ourselves) teems with bacteria and viruses and one of them entering a wound is always a high risk. It's just bad luck. I had some minor surgery a couple of weeks ago, and 85% of the aftercare notes were about keeping bacteria etc out of the area, cleaning the wound, proper dressing, and what to look out for if it gets infected. That doesn't make you to blame for what happened, and the vet was an idiot for making out that you were. 

    I hope she's fully recovered now and you are exploring the options of good vets. I have to say that I have been with my fantastic vets for decades, and they are worth their weight in gold. Try to find an independant practice rather than one of the chains - they tend to actually care about he animals rather than just their profit line. My vet is way cheaper than most of the chains anyway. 
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,710 Forumite
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    If you are not happy with insurance companies decision then follow the complaints procedure which will be stated in your policy document.

    If they do not reply within 8 weeks , or you are still unhappy with reply then you can refer it to to the Financial Ombudsman.
  • drt1710
    drt1710 Posts: 28 Forumite
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    LinLui said:
    Not the first (and won't be the last) time I have heard bad things about Vets4Pets, I wouldn't let any creature of mine in the door. Be that as it may....

    What exactly do the terms of your policy say? It seems like a rubbish policy that fully excludes treatment for an infection caused by routine surgery that is widely recommended - I just checked my policy and it doesn't exclude claims arising from elective surgery. 

    That said, and I wish to revisit the whole "I would not let a pet of mine through the door of that company", I don't think that you can say that the vet is to blame for anything other than being rude, obnoxious, and a waste of space on the planet. Surgery has a routine risk of infection, whether it's a dog or a human. It is a risk that should be explained (there's often something written in post-operative care notes), so unless you can show evidence that the vet has specifically done something which actually caused an infection (unclean tools, unclean operating room etc) then you cannot say they caused it. In fact, there is a very good chance that it was something outside the vets and possibly in your home - our environment (and even us ourselves) teems with bacteria and viruses and one of them entering a wound is always a high risk. It's just bad luck. I had some minor surgery a couple of weeks ago, and 85% of the aftercare notes were about keeping bacteria etc out of the area, cleaning the wound, proper dressing, and what to look out for if it gets infected. That doesn't make you to blame for what happened, and the vet was an idiot for making out that you were. 

    I hope she's fully recovered now and you are exploring the options of good vets. I have to say that I have been with my fantastic vets for decades, and they are worth their weight in gold. Try to find an independant practice rather than one of the chains - they tend to actually care about he animals rather than just their profit line. My vet is way cheaper than most of the chains anyway. 
    Thank you for your reply.

    Firstly I've learned my lesson about Vets4Pets and chain store vets.  My pup is now registered with a local independent vet.

    The insurer kindly sent me a copy part of the policy which does state that complications as a result of elective surgery are not covered, so I know I can not argue on that point.

    I have since reading your post searched on the internet and it seems that a lot of pet insurers have a similar clause, but not all.

    I am not necessarily blaming the vet for causing the infection, that would infer that they did it on purpose which I would not say.  I do understand that these things do happen, but my original point remains in that "should the vet profit from it?" or should the vet treat the infection at cost or a reduced rate?

    With regards to the clinical notes, all I have at the moment are the notes supplied by the insurer, which are limited.  I have therefore requested a copy of all clinical notes and tests from my new vet to allow me to assess whether I have a case against my insurer.  

    For the record, in your reply you mention the wound and proper dressing, keeping it clean etc, the wound was covered at all times, and always looked clean and healed quickly, even the vet agreed that the wound was not infected.

    Thank you, she is fully recovered now and is due to have a checkup at her new independent vet later this week, it will cost me £50 but that's not the point, I just want to make sure she's ok.  

    Hopefully she remains fit and healthy, hopefully I get some good information from the vet that allows me to take on the insurance company too, I detest insurance companies!!!!
  • drt1710
    drt1710 Posts: 28 Forumite
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    sheramber said:
    If you are not happy with insurance companies decision then follow the complaints procedure which will be stated in your policy document.

    If they do not reply within 8 weeks , or you are still unhappy with reply then you can refer it to to the Financial Ombudsman.
    Thank you for your reply.

    I have already replied to the insurer via email a couple of times asking for clarification, and in my last email, I did ask for their complaints procedure which they duly sent me.  I checked this matched the procedure in the policy document.  As in my comment above, I am awaiting details from my new vet, then I will hope to make an official complaint to the insurer.  I may get nowhere, but I definitely won't get anywhere if I do nothing, will I? 
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