Riddle: When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar! Today we’re asking the serious question, when is a vet not a vet? And the answer, apparently, is when they’re just a kennel hand, a neighbour, or even just an opportunistic scammer.
It’s with profound sadness that we learnt from yesterday’s news of the many pets that have died on the Cape Flats, after owners were lured by the promise of cheap treatment by fake vets posing as qualified professionals. These imposters caused the death of pets by administering incorrect treatments and vaccinations, and endangered many others.
Facing expensive vet bills can be a burden on the family’s finances, and you should never have to choose. Pets deserve proper treatment from a registered vet. According to Cape Town Etc, families interviewed after their losses are now imploring others not to be taken in by these fake operations in Cape Town’s suburbs. They are easy to spot, as they are generally someone recommended by a friend, they offer routine care treatment (vaccinations, deworming and tick & flea control) for as little as R150, they often do not look at pets’ health cards, and, the biggest attraction of all, some provide services in the comfort of your home, something that many on the Cape Flats are grateful for, as transport is not always readily available.
Investigations are proving that those who are perpetuating this insidious practice are not qualified in any area of animal health care, although some have proven to be involved in the industry, either as kennel hands, backyard breeders, and in one case, a security guard.
What then is the alternative? The obvious answer would be to seek professional veterinary advice and treatment only from a registered vet or welfare organization, but for many these costs are too steep.
Image Credit: Kaz/Pixabay
Pet insurance is one of the fastest growing industries in South Africa, and this is a good thing, because it is leading to healthier, happier pets. Owners can now afford the rising costs of looking after their furkids. Pet insurance provides peace of mind, knowing that when something goes wrong, like the deadly parvovirus (that was misdiagnosed by fake vets), their pets can receive the best vet treatment without worries of affordability, and families having to make devastating, difficult choices.
We cover the cost of treatments for accidents and illnesses, contribute towards routine care, and offer a host of other benefits that include dental care, rehabilitation, general and holistic wellness, supplements, and behaviour. We even offer chronic care for pets who develop illnesses that require lengthy or even lifelong treatment.
So the question then is no longer “Can I afford this?” but rather “How can I not? Where can I join?” The answer is simple: here
We’re passionate about pets – that’s all we do. We won’t try to add-on car insurance when you claim for Fluffy’s vaccinations. We don’t have a splashy corporate marketing budget. What we will do is provide genuine, comprehensive cover. Using our veterinary qualifications, we motivate your claims with our underwriters, and review your policies on a knowledgeable case-by-case basis. Our pet-loving team faithfully and honestly partner with you every step of the way.
At MediPet we also work hard at balancing the challenge of keeping up with innovation while affording the rising international vet costs affected by the weak rand. We work hard to limit changes, because affordability is important, but weare also responsible about continuing to cover increasing vet bills. Keeping our word matters to us, and so does making sure we can continue to be there when you need us. When times get tough, we insist on not compromising your benefits, and we also don’t sneak in new T’s & C’s. We don’t suddenly try to tell you which vets you can visit, how much they can charge or what treatments they can do!
Interim adjustments are rare for us, and it’s important to us to keep our loyal members like you. Delaying adjustments to once or twice a year means you enjoy considerable savings, but we do need to rectify the situation every now and again. We can’t escape the reality when we face interim premium increases, which at first may seem disappointing. So let us take a moment to explain how MediPet works.
Image Credit: Stocksnap / 27601 Images
Starting at the beginning, MediPet isn’t medical aid, although it may sometimes seem so because many benefits don’t incur excesses and we contribute towards some day-to-day needs such as routine care. But we’re really here to insure against the bigger things that happen in life. Simply put, you pay a small amount every month, to save yourself a possibly devastating bill down the road that you can’t afford.
MediPet is short-term medical insurance cover. This is an agreement, based on the constantly changing risks of pets. The most important influence on your policy is your recent claim history. For this reason, we encourage “smart claiming,” where many wise furry families save their claims for the bigger unforeseen expenses that can’t be budgeted for.
If you aren’t a recent claimer, it can be tricky to justify an expense when you aren’t seeing the biggest benefits. But it’s especially vital now to keep your furry friends covered, because of rising vet costs you would otherwise face alone. At any moment a significant illness, accident or emergency could cost you R35 000 for an uninsured pet, which would take more than a decade to save in annual premiums. An average claim is R1 700 and we process 200 of these every day.
What are some ways to save? We offer a multi-pet discount for pet-loving families. Our healthiest pets are also rewarded after 2 claim-free years with ano claim discount. Our popular Top Dog & Top Catroutine care add-on provides considerable savings and assists with keeping those pesky fleas, ticks, and vaccinatable diseases at bay.
We are thankful 99% of our members choose to stay with us every month. We always want to hear feedback. As always, if you want to chat, or know more, South Africa’s favourite customer service team, your faithful and honest pet insurance partner is here for you.
And remember, if you’re new to the family and partner with us between now and the end of January, you’ll be automatically entered into the sweepstake to win an illustration of your pet by talented artist Syd Illustrations https://www.facebook.com/sydillustrations/
Become a MediPet member before the end of January 2019 and you will automatically be entered into the sweepstakes to win an illustration of your pet by talented artist Syd Illustrations. https://www.facebook.com/sydillustrations/
Terms and Conditions apply as below:
-This competition is open to new members until the 31st of January only. -New members are automatically entered and agree to the terms and conditions as set out by MediPet. -Only one entry will be allocated per new pet member. -The prize is valid until 31 March 2019 and requires a 7-14 day lead time. -The prize is not transferrable for cash or policy premiums. -The winner will be chosen in a random sweepstakes. -The winner will be notified by email. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim his/her prize within 14 days, MediPet reserves the right to withdraw the prize and pick a replacement winner at random. -The winner agrees to have their name and pet name published on MediPet social media platforms. -MediPet’s decision in respect of all matters of the sweepstakes will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
Last week the ASA (Advertising Standard Authority) made a landmark ruling after a customer lodged a complaint on misleading advertising, and a well-known national pet insurance provider was ordered to immediately withdraw their ad. This is a breakthrough for pet care, giving voice to what we have been fighting to come to light for some time.
MediPet has been the market leader in pet insurance coverage for more than a decade. Recently, we have seen small brands under the umbrella of large household/car/life insurance companies pop up, using their splashy corporate marketing budgets for national advertising campaigns, that make inaccurate claims and offer “too good to be true” benefits. Some have even gone so far as to post “anonymous” and “neutral” comparative reviews of pet medical aid options, that are inaccurate, biased and misleading. These unethical marketing tactics have until now gone unchallenged, but customers are wizening up and putting a stop to being taken advantage of in this way.
At MediPet we pride ourselves on providing authentic veterinary coverage, and we are committed to transparency, honesty and faithful partnership with our members. While we support competitors’ efforts to assist in providing pet care to the market, we applaud this move to halt dishonest promotion. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight why our members’ appreciation and loyalty has entrenched MediPet’s dominant position in the South African pet insurance market.
The most popular benefit of joining MediPet is our annual maximum of R35 000 towards all accidents, illnesses and emergency treatments for Option 1 and 2. Most other insurance companies set limits on the amount of coverage available for each line item on invoices. For example, the number of x-rays or doctor’s visits covered per year, or a financial limit on hospitalization are often regulated. We contribute up to R35 000 per year in claims for Option 1 & 2, and up to R20 000 on Accident Only, without question. Within these amounts we simply do not prescribe how much can be used for specific treatments.
We also pay the full price of your approved vet bills, and do not attempt to apply a supposed “South African Councils Guideline of Approved Tariffs”, because this was done away with in 2013!
An exciting new add-on benefit, Top Dog/Top Cat, has recently been introduced to contribute towards routine care, including vaccinations, any tick/flea treatment, de-worming, micro chipping and sterilization.
Most pet insurance providers flat out do not cover hereditary or congenital conditions, and some go so far as to exclude certain breeds. MediPet however, will always cover these, on the provision that they are not present prior to application of the policy, or during the applicable waiting periods.
Should your pet develop special needs while under our cover and require chronic care, we work with you, your vet and our underwriters to design a plan specific to your pet’s requirements. Again, this is an area that other providers often do not cover.
MediPet employs a full-time vet and a vet nurse, who assess each claim carefully, partnering with your vet, and dealing directly with the underwriting managers. It is for this reason we are “vet approved” and many of our referrals, in fact, come from satisfied vets. We introduced this special feature, which is covered by your R12 per month vet fee, because most underwriters’ area of expertise is medical aid, and not pet insurance. This has helped MediPet pay out over 93% of claims. We strive to do so within 5-7 working days, and we pay out on average R4m per month in claims. It is standard for all insurance policies across the board to carry a policy administration fee although this is not necessarily to assist with vets and their claims, and the cost of these are often hidden or “worked in” to your premium, so you never really know what that amount is. With MediPet, what you see is what you get. We don’t have any hidden ‘fine print.”
MediPet is the only provider that offers an annual benefit towards complementary, or alternative treatments. And we do so without charging you an excess each time you claim. While all other insurers will cover only mainstream veterinary treatment, MediPet pays out up to R5 000 annually for holistic treatment, R2 000 for supplements and R4 000 for behaviour (not training). We even assist with prescription food for up to 6 months.
There are a number of providers who will not accept your pet if their vaccinations are not up to date, or if they are not micro-chipped or tattooed. At MediPet, while we do not endorse a tardy vaccination record, we will not penalize your pet. We do, however, strongly recommend vaccinations be kept up to date, and that your pet is both sterilized and micro-chipped. If vaccinations are not up to date for your particular pet, and you submit a claim for a vaccinatable disease, we are unfortunately not able to cover it.
Our underwriters refund claims directly back to you, unless you make specific arrangements with us to pay your vet directly. All we require is a completed claim form and your invoices sent to us within 60 days of initial treatment date. Claims can be emailed, faxed, or hand delivered to us, so the process truly is seamless and easy.
Many people ask why we don’t work with a card-based system, and the answer is simple: It doesn’t work, we don’t need one, and we don’t wish to force our members to have to refund the cash after claims are denied.
MediPet offers both monthly and annual payment options for each policy, and members who select an annual policy save one month’s premium every year. While cheaper policies might be attractive in the short run, you get what you pay for, and often members are disappointed to find out what is NOT covered. We do not offer any misleading pricing schemes or use unethical marketing tactics to mislead potential members. Please keep in mind when selecting a policy, cheaper plans cover less and pay back less in claims.
MediPet can confidently claim to offer the most comprehensive cover available, and this can be backed up by our more than 10 years as the only dedicated pet insurance broker in the industry. Our claims history speaks for itself too. We are proud to report that our members have received over R105 million back.
When we ask our members what they appreciate about us most, after authentic policies, it’s our compassionate & caring support team who partner with you as members. We don’t have a big call centre with long waits. In fact, you will often be given the direct contact details of a team member to assist you with your policy and claims one-on-one.
We acknowledge the competition, and welcome it in fact. It helps us bring about more awareness of the need to protect your pet health, and it assists us all to continuously strive to move ahead, change, adapt, and keep offering the best care. This healthy competition, however, needs to be regulated and constantly monitored to ensure dirty tactics are kept at bay, protecting you and your pets from being taken advantage of, in what is often, your greatest hour of need.
On Friday night Medipet joined Aid4Aid (Aid 4 Animals in Distress) at their Bark 4 Bingo evening at the Tokai Earth Fair Food Market.
This wonderful and dynamic group of people work tirelessly to rescue and re-home animals in distress. Working predominantly in the disadvantaged communities they bring hope to pets and owners who would otherwise not be able to afford to their furry companions the basic necessities of food, general good health, and adequate shelter. They do all this without their own premises, without subsidy, and without complaint. Relying solely on donations and goodwill, they somehow still manage to maintain a great adoption record, re-homing on average, upward of 12 cats and dogs each month.
Friday night’s event saw an almost full house of animal lovers coming out to support this charity, win amazing prizes, and have a good laugh and a couple of games of Bingo in the bargain.
A R100 ticket gets you a couple of bingo cards and dinner. Dinner comes in the form of a whopping cheese or veggie burger, complete with salads. The bar is open serving wine, craft beers and cider on tap, and there is a cooldrink bar available for those who prefer the non-alcoholic option. Desserts are also on sale, and the chocolate brownies are not to be missed. A fun evening out for the whole family, there is also a designated play area where your little ones can be entertained with sand art.
If you’d like to join in one of these fun evenings, then keep an eye open on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/aid4animalsindistress/ for details of their next event, and come down to support this great cause. We guarantee you’ll have a doggone fine time, and all at great value for money.
One of our staff members recently returned from a 3 week holiday road tripping through Turkey with her daughter. Among the many interesting things that they experienced, one of the sadder aspects were their encounters with the population of Turkey’s stray cats and dogs.
Here is her story.
Snoozing in the doorway of Starbucks
Although most of the tourist attractions in Turkey are teeming with stray cats, and very often dogs (and goats and donkeys and chickens), nowhere is the plight of these animals more heartbreaking, than in Istanbul. A Starbucks and a mosque on just about every street corner was our expectation. What wasn’t was the number of stray dogs and cats.
Donkey and Rooster at Kayakoy, the ghost village just outside Fethiye
Growing up in a city (indeed in a country) where the animals we mostly encounter are our pets, and where they share the family home, it is a natural instinct for many of us to want to rescue every stray we see, take them home, feed them, groom them, give them a warm, comfortable bed to sleep in, and shower them with love. It is a fact that the closest many of us come to street animals, are the township dogs we drive past, who are, very likely, quite well looked after.
We met Max hanging out at the Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts
It is therefore an alien concept to imagine cats and dogs, in the heart of a city, without a home. Or, to be more accurate, whose home is the street they spend their day on, lying in the shade of a doorway. Who’s bed might be a piece of cardboard in that same doorway, and who’s water comes from the constant dripping of a leaky tap.
This happens every day in our own communities; to people. They are there and they live this way because they have nothing else. We are aware of it, but we turn our heads and hurry past. We take more notice when it is an animal, perhaps because they don’t have a voice.
Our first day in Istanbul we encountered a German Shepherd, lounging outside a stained glass lamp store. People entering and leaving would step right over the dog as if it wasn’t there. The only person to pay any attention to it was the store owner, who eventually came out to chase it away.
Our first turkish coffee came with a free cat Strays in the 2nd courtyard at Topkapi Palace
Over the next few days, we encountered more and more of these dogs (and cats). Taking the Metro bus between cities became an exercise in counting as the number of dogs we saw sadly climbed higher and higher. They would run through fields, stroll along the side of the road, or hang out at gas stations (especially the ones with a restaurant attached). One day, after 6 hours on a bus, we stopped for a bathroom break and bought a couple of burgers at a roadside cafe. They were horrible. As a South African I always thought that even a bad burger was better than no burger, but in Turkey, these were really, really bad. Instead of tossing them in the bin, we thought we’d give them to the strays hanging around the station. Thanks, but no, the dogs wouldn’t eat the burgers either. That was either testament to the fact that the burgers were really awful, or that the dogs were not starving, and a bit more discerning. We began to pay closer attention, and that’s when we realised:
These dogs were not mongrels (pavement specials as we call them here).
They were in pretty good condition (their coats were shiny and clean, not matted). And
They were not scrawny, but rather, they looked well fed.
Juno lives at the market Little puppy we met at Kem, the jewellery studio. A zen moment with a place in Fethiye retriever at Kapadokya Coffee
They were also not vicious when it came to food, they would accept tidbits daintily, and they would not fight each other for scraps. All this indicated that these poor strays were not in the dire straits that we’d at first assumed.
A little bit of research, and visiting a couple of veterinary practices in the various cities and towns we traveled through revealed some interesting facts and stories.
Istanbul has a population of about 15 million humans. The population of strays (dogs and cats) currently sits at around 150 000. It is extremely difficult to measure this figure with any degree of accuracy, but that number is fairly close. Homeless these animals might be, but they also have 15 million owners! Beloved by the population who endeavor to look after them, these street dogs and cats subsist on rations left out by shopkeepers and store owners. In doorways you will find buckets of water and kibble, and in the evenings you can see dogs gather outside fresh produce stores, where they are fed with goods that cannot be sold the following day. When the sun sets you will see cardboard boxes, pillows, scraps of blanket appear in these same doorways. Restaurants become a hive of activity as the 4 legged population start to gather. Clearly food is in abundance and they know it.
This is how it has been for centuries.
In 1910, in a desire to “westernise” (and beautify) the city, the then sultan of the Ottoman Empire passed a draft law that would send all the stray dogs to live on barren Sivriada, one of the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara. Tens of thousands of dogs were rounded up, carted off and dumped. The island had no food, or water, so the dogs were left to starve to death, or to eat each other. According to folklore the dogs could be heard at night howling in agony. Many dogs tried to swim back to Istanbul. Many didn’t make it. A large fire in 1911 and a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in 1912 were seen as punishment by God for these actions. The exile of strays to Sivriada was stopped and the remaining dogs on the island were returned to Istanbul.
In 2012, Turks found history repeating itself when the Turkish government proposed a law that would see the city animals picked up by animal control and herded off to forests on the outskirts of north eastern Istanbul. Although activists protested, and thousands marched through cities, and the draft law was tabled, many dogs were still sent away. Today they remain in these wooded areas, where volunteer groups go in 3 times per week to feed them. Because this is done on a volunteer basis, they rely heavily on donations of food from pet stores, grocery stores and schools, but the costs still amount to around 800 euros per week to feed the dogs. Although it is the responsibility of the municipality to ensure the dog’s well-being, their only contribution so far, is towards petrol for the volunteers.
Kitty love in the Ilhara Valley in Capadoccia and at Ephesus and St John’s Basilica in Selcuk
The government remains perplexed at the attitude of the citizenry, who insist that these “legitimate denizens” of the city have as much right as anyone to be there. Their ambition is to “globalize” Istanbul on the scale of New York, or Tokyo. Turkey is enjoying its wealth after a period of economic growth that has seen per capita income trebled, and spurts of urban renewal. Everywhere in Turkey can you see the construction of roads, luxury high rise apartment buildings, shopping malls, and the beautification of formerly ramshackle neighborhoods. There is no room in this vision for the strays who are seen as an embarrassment to the “Europeanizing” process.
Affection from 2 cuties at the Troia ruins in Canakkale
But the citizens of vibrant Istanbul insist on the strays having a place in the city. This in itself is an enigma, as Istanbul’s human population is 98% Muslim, and the Islamic religion considers dogs “unclean”. Yet these well groomed and (mostly) well behaved dogs, not only roam the streets, but are looked after by the Istanbullus. In fact, not once during our 3 weeks in this magnificent country, did we encounter a single dog or cat dropping, testament to the fact that the citizenry not only look after them, but clean up after them too. They claim that these social animals are so intelligent, that they have learned to read the traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, stopping at red lights and crossing at green.
In the tiny town of Goreme in the Kapadokya region, we met an hotel owner, Ali with a little stray named Princess. He told us his story.
“I used to see this little dog by the hotel and give her food because I felt sorry for her. One day she wasn’t there. I went to look for her and she had just birthed 2 puppies. I took them home with the mother dog, but she didn’t want to stay and she disappeared again. I didn’t see her for a long time. I went out one night and I got drunk. When I left the bar I was attacked by two stray dogs and I couldn’t defend myself. Then this little dog came and she chased away the 2 dogs that were attacking me. I think she was protecting me because I protected her babies. That’s when i started to love her”.
Today, Princess lives at the hotel with Ali, who still has her two puppies.
Max, adopted by the Venus Suites Hotel in Pamukkale
In Pamukkale we met Max, a boxer who had become the Mascot of the hotel we stayed in. The hotel was very upmarket, so it was a surprise to see Max dozing on the fancy sofa’s in the lobby, or on a chaise outside by the pool. If Max decides he wants to spend the night in your hotel room, then he saunters in and makes himself comfortable, either on your bed or a sofa.
Tiger, a resident cat decided to move into our apartment in Fethiye. He slept on the sofa bed and insisted on a slice of anchovy toast for breakfast.
Tiger (named because of the stripes), our lovable roomie in our Fethiye apartment
The Istanbullus, in fact the whole of Turkey, have their own reasons for allowing these animals to remain. Whatever those reasons are, it just seems to work. The Turkish Government now have a plan in place, where strays are picked up, taken to veterinarians where they are vaccinated, sterilised, (treated if they are injured), tagged & registered, and then released back on to the streets. In this way authorities hope to control their numbers and keep track of the existing dogs.
MediPet is proud to be in association with Pet Wellness Worx. Their range of services helps your furry friend recover and lead a healthy life.
Pet Wellness Worx understands the important role of post-surgery rehabilitation, as well as the recovery techniques that assist in the treatment of auto immune disorders including degenerative myelopathy, neurological spinal prolapse and hip dysplasia.
Pet Wellness Worx specialises in the health, well-being and rehabilitative care of man’s best friend. Their mission is to give our furry friends the quality of life they deserve by making every precious moment count.
Their services range from:-
Hydro under-water treadmill
Medical Tui Na Massage
Body Stress Release
Tellington TTouch Therapy
Reiki Healing & Relaxation Therapy
Photizo Light Therapy
Vet Tens PT2010 Electro Stimulation (Electrotherapy)
Conditioning & Exercise programs
Weight Management Plans & Wellness Programmes
Aging, Geriatrics & Convalesces
Myofacial Release Therapy
For information on what this amazing team does, visit their website Pet-Wellness-Worx