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Hi,:)
I'm a new hedgie owner, and I already have an ideal vet clinic picked out for my baby. They specify 'exotic animal care' on their website, but should I go in for a checkup anyway just to make sure that they can properly care for him?
If so, how much could you guess it would be? Not that price is an issue, I'm just a very proactive budgeter so I like to have my 'emergency fund' full for if he ever gets sick or hurt unexpectedly. About how much money should I have put away for his vet fund?
Thank you in advance!
 

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Yup, I like to go in for a wellness exam & vet check visit before you actually have an illness or injury to deal with. It's recommended to go in for a wellness exam at least once a year, twice a year is better. You'll need to call the vet to ask what the price is for an exotic/hedgehog/small animal wellness exam as it differs quite a lot based on the vet and where you are. I've seen anything from $40-100 for a basic wellness exam fee.

For a vet fund, I personally recommend a minimum of $500. You can easily spend that much when adding in diagnostic tests like x-rays, ultrasounds, biopsies, etc. Surgeries can easily be $500+ as well. I have a hedgehog with Fatty Liver Disease and so far her vet bills from the past month have totaled around $2000 - x-ray, ultrasound, cytology test, exploratory surgery with biopsy & bacterial culture/sensitivity test.

Some other options to look into for vet costs - you can get VPI pet insurance for hedgehogs, it costs about $8/month, less if you pay the full year in one go. The way that works is you pay the costs up front, then send in a claim for the visit. Then they reimburse you for a certain amount of the costs for the things that are covered by insurance. You have to call in order to sign up for the exotics plan, so if you have more questions, you can ask then. You'll also get a booklet in the mail after signing up that will explain what's covered & not covered by your plan. Pre-existing conditions are not covered, so you want to sign up soon, while he's still healthy. It also takes 2 weeks to go into effect from when you sign up, so that's another factor to consider as far as timing.

The other option is Care Credit, which is a credit card for health expenses. It can be for human health costs as well, or for veterinary care. You'll need to check on the site or ask your vet clinic if they accept it, not all do. It has a very high interest rate as far as credit cards go, so it's not ideal to use for small expenses like a general wellness exam. But it's good for big things like illnesses, surgeries, etc. because they offer payment plans for single costs of $200+. You get a certain time period (6 months, 1 year, etc.) to make payments on that cost, interest-free. As long as you make the minimum payments each month & pay off the full amount in the given time period, you aren't charged any interest & don't pay anything extra towards that bill.

Personally I have Care Credit & my vet fund both for upfront costs, then have pet insurance so that I can be reimbursed for some of the costs & can use that to pay off CC or add back to my vet fund. Having all three options, if possible, is the best way to handle vet costs, IMO.
 

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+1 on the $500

you can expect to pay around $75 on average for a wellness exam; just to see the animal. anything more sedation is almost expected around $60. xrays around $60. medications can really vary from $20-$150. fecal smears $50. bloodwork $50+. tissue/biopsy samples $200+. and a followup visit around $50. so around $500 would be a recommended amount to have handy.
 
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