Vet bills too much for family

By: Lizz Marrs Email
By: Lizz Marrs Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A local family had to fight to save their cat's life, and now they're urging veterinarians to be more flexible when it comes to covering the healthcare costs of pets.

Kevin Elliott says Orion is "part of the family, he runs around house just like a kid does."

Just like any other kitten, 7-month-old Orion is always playful, but his owner Kevin Elliott wasn't prepared for the cost that accompanied Orion's play.

"You don't have emergency care funds, you probably should, but with a kid and everything else its kind of hard. He just jumped out of her arms and landed on the ground and both of his knees popped out of socket," Elliot says.

Elliott says Orion couldn't walk and was in horrible pain, and finding a veterinarian who could do the knee surgery wasn't the problem.

"It was about nine days before he got his surgery done. Before we could actually get someone that would help us with the surgery part of the deal," he says.

It was an issue that a lot of people face when trying to pay for surgeries of their own. The $600 surgery bill was too much money for the family to pay all at once.

"They said he needed to have the surgery on his knees. They said we had to have the money up front. There's no way anyone would take payments," Elliot says.

Elliot says he called every veterinarian he could but no one was willing to help. He even tried applying for a care card so he could make payments but was denied, and his friends and family were already strapped for cash.

"If they couldn't do the surgery, they said the next thing would be to put him down and that's just not going happen. We'll do whatever it takes," he says.

But Cottonwood Veterinary Hospital came to the rescue. Elliott says they set up a payment plan, the Elliots would pay $200 every two weeks for the surgery.

Elliott says there are types of animal insurance out there but that's something he just couldn't afford, and since tragedy could happen to any helpless animal, he wishes veterinarians would be more flexible, like Cottonwood. "I just wish there were more vets that were willing to be more compassionate. Sometimes it's not just about the money. Sometimes it's about the care of the animal," Elliot says.

Elliott is thankful Orion is on his way to speedy recovery.

A typical insurance plan for your pet can set you back $2,000 to $6,000 over the course of its life.

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  • by Alice Location: Grand Junction on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:41 AM
    Regarding the comment by Eldon - Mr. Elliot was not looking for free care for his kitten. His kitten was in pain and needed medical care. Should we put down a pet that can be helped just because people don't have the money? Why can't vets work with people who need to make payments? Doctors do not euthanize patients who can be helped with medical care. What has happened to humane treatment? He wanted to make payments so his pet could get the care he needed. I know that I will go to Cottonwood for my pets care from now on. I will also recomment Cottonwood to my friends.
  • by Eldon Location: Colorado on Dec 7, 2009 at 05:00 PM
    “All they care about is money” AKA, I do not intend to pay you anything! In this economy most clinics are overwhelmed with similar stories, daily, to give away their service, on a daily basis, would mean going out of business and loss of jobs for the Doctors, Technicians, clinic staff, etc. An animal hospital has overhead expenses for example; medical suppliers and drug companies have no mercy when the overhead bill is due. The cost of Education, equipment, drugs and labor for vets is for the most part comparable to human medicine. If these animal care givers indeed wanted “only money” they would not be in Veterinary Medicine! I am married to a vet and can testify first hand to the long grueling sleepless weeks, weekends and self-less service. Unfortunately, Veterinary medicine is expensive, BUT, Imagine the cost to have this surgery done on a human! Please be aware of fiscal responsibility when adopting a pet!
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