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View Full Version : For those that board- taking boarders to the vets



Sky-O
11-06-2012, 11:07 AM
How do you do it? contact the person first? What if you can't contact them? Get them to sign before they go saying you have permission? How do the vets take it when you take in an animal that's not your own?

Also, if you have the Pet Plan insurance that covers situations like these, how does that work?

GrahamL
11-06-2012, 11:09 AM
I hope Helen won't mind me posting, but i know when B&G are boarded with her, i have to sign a form that says they will be taken to a vet and i'll have to pay for the treatment upon my return :wave:

Sky-O
11-06-2012, 11:10 AM
Thanks Gray. :)

How do people cover it if someone says they aren't going to pay?

teejay
11-06-2012, 11:46 AM
Hiya, I board small furries (www.vipiggies.co.uk) and I ask all customers to sign a declaration when they leave their pets with me. Amongst other things, the declaration states that they give me permission to seek emergency veterinary advice/treatment if I deem it necessary.

If I know that the owner is contactable, and I'm confident that they'll reply quickly, then I always ask them permission before taking their pet to the vet. If not, I will take the animal to the vets without contacting the owner first.

At my vets, I hold two accounts; one for personal use and one for business use. The only difference is that the business invoices are printed with V.I.Piggies on the top, which is vital for when I submit my insurance claim. Even though I have an excellent relationship with my vets (they often recommend my boarding services to their clients) I still have to pay all vet bills from my own pocket (there's no 'credit' account available), and then I claim this back from my PetPlan Sanctuary insurance.

In case there are any follow-up appointments needed whilst they're still with me, though, I always wait until the animal has gone home to make my claim.

However, this potentially leaves me vulnerable, as the insurance company might not pay out for some reason (this has only happened once so far), leaving me out of pocket.

So, to protect myself from this, if their pet has generated a vet bill whilst with me, I ask the owner to leave a cheque to the full value when they collect their pet which I store and do not bank. If the insurance pay out, then I send the unbanked cheque back to the owner. If the insurance don't pay out, then I let the owner know (I send them a copy of the letter from the insurance company) and I bank their cheque.

So far, this system has worked for me. I have to say that PetPlan are brilliant, and the only time they've rejected a claim was when the rabbit in question was clearly suffering from a pre-existing dental problem (as declared by the owner on the booking form) which led to stasis whilst he was in my care.

Hope that helps!

Tracey

Sky-O
11-06-2012, 11:49 AM
Tracey, that helps hugely, thanks!

teejay
11-06-2012, 11:50 AM
You're very welcome!

Tracey

Alibunmum
11-06-2012, 11:59 AM
I also have a declaration on the form which says that I will try to contact them but the decision is mine and t t they have to settle the bill in full on their return. There are some things which are not critical and the owners may have forgotten to say that it is normal for their rabbit. For these types of things I would aim to speak to the owner first and double check whether it was a pre existing thing. But yesterday a boarder was guarding a hind foot and when i looked a toe was red raw and swollen. In this situationI took the rabbit to the vet and contacted the owner aftewards.

I feel I am waffling and not making much sense!:oops:

catherine09
11-06-2012, 12:17 PM
Hiya, I board small furries (www.vipiggies.co.uk) and I ask all customers to sign a declaration when they leave their pets with me. Amongst other things, the declaration states that they give me permission to seek emergency veterinary advice/treatment if I deem it necessary.

If I know that the owner is contactable, and I'm confident that they'll reply quickly, then I always ask them permission before taking their pet to the vet. If not, I will take the animal to the vets without contacting the owner first.

At my vets, I hold two accounts; one for personal use and one for business use. The only difference is that the business invoices are printed with V.I.Piggies on the top, which is vital for when I submit my insurance claim. Even though I have an excellent relationship with my vets (they often recommend my boarding services to their clients) I still have to pay all vet bills from my own pocket (there's no 'credit' account available), and then I claim this back from my PetPlan Sanctuary insurance.

In case there are any follow-up appointments needed whilst they're still with me, though, I always wait until the animal has gone home to make my claim.

However, this potentially leaves me vulnerable, as the insurance company might not pay out for some reason (this has only happened once so far), leaving me out of pocket.

So, to protect myself from this, if their pet has generated a vet bill whilst with me, I ask the owner to leave a cheque to the full value when they collect their pet which I store and do not bank. If the insurance pay out, then I send the unbanked cheque back to the owner. If the insurance don't pay out, then I let the owner know (I send them a copy of the letter from the insurance company) and I bank their cheque.

So far, this system has worked for me. I have to say that PetPlan are brilliant, and the only time they've rejected a claim was when the rabbit in question was clearly suffering from a pre-existing dental problem (as declared by the owner on the booking form) which led to stasis whilst he was in my care.

Hope that helps!

Tracey

Does that mean that if you have insurance for your business and a pet gets sick, then the owner doesn't actually have to pay for the treatment their pet receives (unless the claim is refused)?

Also - (I apologise for slightly hijacking this thread Sky-O) if you work full time, does the insurance pay out for the pet being admitted if sick while you are at work? I am planning on setting up bunny/guinea boarding later this year but am concerned in-case a pet is ill whilst with me (eg stasis) because I couldn't keep having time off work (I start full time work 9 - 5 soon) for an ill pet, so, for example if I found late at night or in the morning, I would have to go to vets and leave there all day/night until better.

teejay
11-06-2012, 12:50 PM
Hi Catherine, yes, my policy covers me for emergency vet treatment for any animal in my care, up to the value of 350 with no excess.

I also work full-time, but I'm lucky in that I'm the boss (;)), so I can work flexible/reduced hours if need be, so between my and my husband, who can also work flexibly, we can be at home 24 hours of the day to care for a sick animal if necessary. However, I know that my policy would cover if an animal was kept in at the vets, as long as the total bill came to less than 350. (Leaving a boarder at the vets would be a very last resort though, I'd much rather nurse them at home, assuming it's within my capabilities to do so).

In the past 12 months, I think I've claimed on the policy about 6 or 7 times (all claims for less than 100), and the only claim rejected was the one I mentioned in an earlier post (I expected the claim to be rejected, to be honest). Despite having made these claims, I've just renewed the policy and I think it's only gone up about 10 for the year, and there have been no exclusions or restrictions placed on the policy.

It really is a great policy, I know that it gives my customers peace of mind. PetPlan are a very friendly, reliable and efficient company to deal with; I'd recommend them to anyone!

Tracey

Alibunmum
11-06-2012, 01:04 PM
I am inthe process of applying for this. I wanted to make sure I was busy enough to justify the cost. It is an excellent policy and covers so much more for the boarder than just vets fees.

catherine09
11-06-2012, 01:22 PM
Hi Catherine, yes, my policy covers me for emergency vet treatment for any animal in my care, up to the value of 350 with no excess.

I also work full-time, but I'm lucky in that I'm the boss (;)), so I can work flexible/reduced hours if need be, so between my and my husband, who can also work flexibly, we can be at home 24 hours of the day to care for a sick animal if necessary. However, I know that my policy would cover if an animal was kept in at the vets, as long as the total bill came to less than 350. (Leaving a boarder at the vets would be a very last resort though, I'd much rather nurse them at home, assuming it's within my capabilities to do so).

In the past 12 months, I think I've claimed on the policy about 6 or 7 times (all claims for less than 100), and the only claim rejected was the one I mentioned in an earlier post (I expected the claim to be rejected, to be honest). Despite having made these claims, I've just renewed the policy and I think it's only gone up about 10 for the year, and there have been no exclusions or restrictions placed on the policy.

It really is a great policy, I know that it gives my customers peace of mind. PetPlan are a very friendly, reliable and efficient company to deal with; I'd recommend them to anyone!

Tracey

That's very interesting. I always thought these insurance policies were to protect against public liability, and against people suing for negligence; I never imagined that they would cover vets fees for all the animals staying - that's excellent!!

I have actually just got off the phone with Petplan - this thread got me motivated to call them and ask for a quote in preparation. I did ask about the admittance due to full time work, and they suggested it wouldn't be covered unless hospitalisation of the animal was completely necessary - think that may be something I would need to include in my T&C's as I can't really see any other way around it. I assume you would have a clause in your T&C's that states if the vet bills come to over 350, the owner is responsible for the excess?

I wish I could have it so I could nurse, but the field that I am going into (accounting) is office based, unfortunately. While it's not a problem due to the nature of the animals staying (no need for walks in the daytime or constant human companionship, etc), and the size of the enclosures they will be in (built in large runs that are secure enough to be left all day whilst I am out), it becomes a problem if there ever were a sick animal in my care. Petplan were very friendly though and gave me numerous quotes based on differing levels of cover - and it was much less than I expected too!

teejay
11-06-2012, 01:37 PM
Hi Catherine, my policy also covers for public liability and a few other things, such as death of a pet whilst in my care, loss through straying, cover whilst in transit (we offer a collection service), etc.

It's interesting that PetPlan suggested a stay at the vets might not be covered under the 'care and custody' section. I guess, as you say, that it would probably be covered if it was recommended by the attending vet, but it probably wouldn't be covered if it was at the request of the boarding establishment and not indicated by the vet.

As I mentioned earlier, I've just had my new policy documentation through and I've read it front to back and there's no mention of a vet stay not being covered; that's why I assumed it was.

To be honest, though, the vet invoices I submit with any claims are very basic and undetailed. They have the name of the pet and the name of my business, but they don't specify the illness being treated, they just break the total bill down into the cost of the consultation and the cost of any medication prescribed. So, the insurance wouldn't know if the hospitalisation was vet recommended or otherwise, and judging by the speed at which the claims are settled, I doubt that PetPlan contact the vet for clarification of the invoices.

Although, thinking about it now, I've only ever submitted relatively small claims; I suspect that big claims might come under greater scrutiny!

Yes, I do have in my T&Cs that an owner is responsible for vet fees if the total bill is over 350, but, thankfully, that's never happened so far (touch wood!)

Tracey x

PS - good luck in your new venture - it's hard work but really rewarding, you'll love it!

parsnipbun
11-06-2012, 02:27 PM
Beware that even with a signed piece of paper I have had boarders refuse to pay vets bills - and unless you had the energy/insistence/time etc to try to take them to the small claims court there is nothing you can do.

In fact two of the buns ended up with me as the owner refused to pay the bills and basically told me to keep the buns as she was not paying . . .

so I got the vets bills plus two more buns on my hands . . (not that they aren't lovely . . . )

teejay
11-06-2012, 02:42 PM
Beware that even with a signed piece of paper I have had boarders refuse to pay vets bills - and unless you had the energy/insistence/time etc to try to take them to the small claims court there is nothing you can do.

In fact two of the buns ended up with me as the owner refused to pay the bills and basically told me to keep the buns as she was not paying . . .

so I got the vets bills plus two more buns on my hands . . (not that they aren't lovely . . . )

Blimey....some people make you want to weep, don't they? Thankfully, I've never come across anyone like this. I have loads of regulars, and I trust them implicitly to pay up if ever the need arose. I'm a little more unsure of new customers, but so far, I've had no problems.

To be honest, the risk of people not paying up for vet treatment is the very reason I wouldn't be without my insurance!

Tracey

Sky-O
11-06-2012, 04:41 PM
Beware that even with a signed piece of paper I have had boarders refuse to pay vets bills - and unless you had the energy/insistence/time etc to try to take them to the small claims court there is nothing you can do.

In fact two of the buns ended up with me as the owner refused to pay the bills and basically told me to keep the buns as she was not paying . . .

so I got the vets bills plus two more buns on my hands . . (not that they aren't lovely . . . )

Having dealt with some really rubbish people, this would be my worry and thought; not the decent people, but the rubbish ones.



teejay, can I please ask what you pay for all that? If you don't mind me asking, that is.

Lea-Anne
11-06-2012, 06:56 PM
We also make customers sign before they book in confirming they give us responsibility to take animal to vet. We have an agreement with the vet where we just get an invoice to give to the owner ( but usually they post them a bill anyway) and owner settles directly with the vet on their return. Never had any customers say they wouldn't pay thankfully, although have had one said 'don't spend more than fifty quid, anything over pts.' :shock: ( and she was minted and had horses)

martlou
11-06-2012, 07:14 PM
This is a really interesting thread, I have a question for teejay about the size of the bills. Ted had a couple of stasis bouts in Feb / March this year and the bills came to just over 1700 :shock: (this included two hospitalisations, one which was at the emergency vet, 1 on 1 nursing and numerous drugs and tests). Clearly that's well over the 350 you mention so how would this kind of situation work? Would you have to pay the bill then get it back from the owner? It's a huge amount to risk not getting back - or are you insured for that? (sorry if I've missed that somewhere along the way)

Alibunmum
11-06-2012, 07:39 PM
This is a really interesting thread, I have a question for teejay about the size of the bills. Ted had a couple of stasis bouts in Feb / March this year and the bills came to just over 1700 :shock: (this included two hospitalisations, one which was at the emergency vet, 1 on 1 nursing and numerous drugs and tests). Clearly that's well over the 350 you mention so how would this kind of situation work? Would you have to pay the bill then get it back from the owner? It's a huge amount to risk not getting back - or are you insured for that? (sorry if I've missed that somewhere along the way)

Personally I would authorise treatment up to the 350 the insurance company will pay. More than that and the owner would have to speak to the vet and authorise the rest of the treatment. I always need an emergency contact for this reason and most people are happy to keep in touch via text anyway. This is a serious case and I would want the owner to be in touch with the vet anyway because I would not be happy making decisions for them if it was so critical.

martlou
11-06-2012, 07:53 PM
Personally I would authorise treatment up to the 350 the insurance company will pay. More than that and the owner would have to speak to the vet and authorise the rest of the treatment. I always need an emergency contact for this reason and most people are happy to keep in touch via text anyway. This is a serious case and I would want the owner to be in touch with the vet anyway because I would not be happy making decisions for them if it was so critical.

To be honest if we'd been away and Ted was in this critical condition we'd have come home. I was just wondering what would happen if the owner was not contactable and the bunny was in such a serious condition and might die without treatment. We're always available by text or email but the thought that somebun might pass away due to owners not being contactable made me :cry: (not that I'm saying that would happen but I can understand why a boarding establishment wouldn't (or might not be able to) fund that kind of money).

teejay
11-06-2012, 09:07 PM
teejay, can I please ask what you pay for all that? If you don't mind me asking, that is.

I don't mind at all! I pay about 190 / year (but I pay monthly). I'd pay double for it, to be honest (but don't tell PetPlan that ;)), I really think it's what sets my boarding above the other local places.

Tracey

Sky-O
11-06-2012, 09:20 PM
I don't mind at all! I pay about 190 / year (but I pay monthly). I'd pay double for it, to be honest (but don't tell PetPlan that ;)), I really think it's what sets my boarding above the other local places.

Tracey

Wait, you pay ONLY 190 per year for all of that? I thought you were going to say like 500 or something!

teejay
11-06-2012, 09:26 PM
This is a really interesting thread, I have a question for teejay about the size of the bills. Ted had a couple of stasis bouts in Feb / March this year and the bills came to just over 1700 :shock: (this included two hospitalisations, one which was at the emergency vet, 1 on 1 nursing and numerous drugs and tests). Clearly that's well over the 350 you mention so how would this kind of situation work? Would you have to pay the bill then get it back from the owner? It's a huge amount to risk not getting back - or are you insured for that? (sorry if I've missed that somewhere along the way)

Wow, that's a big bill! To be honest, I don't know what I'd do if I was faced with that kind of bill for a boarder. Obviously, if it was a life or death emergency, then I'd have to make a quick decision based on the facts presented by the vet, but my first course of action would be to try my best to contact the owner to ask their opinion and get a financial commitment from them.

In my experience, what normally happens is that the vet treats the urgent acute symptoms and has to leave any underlying more chronic problems to the owner to sort out. For example, I had a bun with a dental abscess causing him to dramatically go off his food. If he was my own rabbit, he would have had the tooth extracted and the abscess drained straight away, but in the circumstances, the vet treated him with painkillers, antibiotics and a gut stimulant to keep him comfortable and give his appetite a chance to recover. We also syringe fed him until he started to eat for himself again. The owner then took him to her own vet for the tooth extraction when she returned from her holiday.

Obviously, that wouldn't apply in a life or death situation, but thankfully, I've never had that kind of situation. I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it :( and deal with every case depending on the specific circumstances.

Tracey

teejay
11-06-2012, 09:28 PM
We have an agreement with the vet where we just get an invoice to give to the owner ( but usually they post them a bill anyway) and owner settles directly with the vet on their return.

Wow, that's really good of your vets; I wish mine would offer that kind of flexibility (although they're brilliant, no complaints from me at all!)

Tracey

teejay
11-06-2012, 09:33 PM
Personally I would authorise treatment up to the 350 the insurance company will pay. More than that and the owner would have to speak to the vet and authorise the rest of the treatment. I always need an emergency contact for this reason and most people are happy to keep in touch via text anyway. This is a serious case and I would want the owner to be in touch with the vet anyway because I would not be happy making decisions for them if it was so critical.

That's very sensible advice; I think, if I was faced with such a serious emergency, I'd adopt an approach very much like yours, Ali. I reckon I am able to contact about 2/3 of my customers while they're away, and, like you, I also ask for an emergency contact person at home/local to home as well as the contact details of the owner.

So, I should be able to contact someone, even if it's not the owner themselves. I certainly wouldn't want to be committing an owner to a 1700 bill without squaring it with them first!

Tracey

teejay
11-06-2012, 09:34 PM
Wait, you pay ONLY 190 per year for all of that? I thought you were going to say like 500 or something!

It's a bargain, it really is! Actually, it's less than that.....I pay just over 19 a month, but that's over 8 months, so it's only about 155! And those 4 months payment free are lovely!

Tracey

Alibunmum
11-06-2012, 09:39 PM
It's a bargain, it really is! Actually, it's less than that.....I pay just over 19 a month, but that's over 8 months, so it's only about 155! And those 4 months payment free are lovely!

Tracey

I need to get back in touch with them, it is such a good peace of mind policy. I had it in my head that there was a 50 excess for vet fees and so had decided against it. Now I know there is no excess I may well just go ahead.