Warranties are tricky things, and the Optimum Wellness Plan offered by Banfield (aka that hospital inside most PetSmart stores) is basically a warranty.

And not a cheap one. For cats, the plans start at $251 a year — plus a one-time enrollment fee of $40 — and go up from there.

The plans include free office visits, free vaccinations, and 15% off most services. But unless your pet actually gets sick, it’s probably not worthwhile.

That said, if your pet does get sick, you should definitely consider it.

For example, last year the plan saved us $700 on Sandy, who had some bad teeth, badly in need of extraction. Since the vet would need to sedate her, clean up her teeth to see which ones could be saved, and then do the extraction, we were given an estimate of $1,200. a year ago.

The Active Prevention Wellness Plan charged $311 plus the $40 enrollment fee. We paid about $190 for the extractions, putting the bill just under $550.

And that’s not taking her vaccinations into account. Between the office visit and shots, that was $112 included in the cost of the plan.

So, big savings.

Recently, Patches been puking regularly. As in, three or more times a week. Off to Banfield we went.

The vet said it was almost certainly the feline version of acid reflux, but she wanted to run some tests to be sure all was well with the internal organs — particularly the pancreas.

Between blood work and internal organ screening, the bill came to $288.

I grabbed a Wellness Plan pamphlet off the wall and quickly determined that most of the tests were covered under the plan.

Once we signed up, the tests came to $94. Aka, $194 less than planned.

In addition, Patches is due for her vaccination soon. Between the shots and the office visit, we’d be looking at just under $113.

Finally, since Sandy’s plan was still technically in effect (it was on renewal hold), Patches got $15 off the enrollment fee.

So, of the $327 we spent for the plan, $307 would need to be spent anyway. Which means that Patches will get a dental cleaning for $10.

I’d call that a good deal.

We did also renew Sandy’s plan. Snub-nosed cats are apparently far more likely to get dental disease, and so she could really use the preventative yearly cleaning. Between that and the cost of the vaccination/office visit, the plan makes sense.

Usually, though, a healthy pet isn’t going to need the plan. Until you know your pet isn’t well, a Wellness Plan probably isn’t worth the cost.

 

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