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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this just happened... the CDC has issued a "temporary" travel ban on importing (which includes traveling with your pet) from "high risk" countries. We are still in the US and don't have immediate travel plans, so hoping this is really short-term (no info on the site how long it will last), but if it does, it puts a serious kink in our lives. Even short-term it does, because while you can apply for an exemption (no guarantee you'll get it AND no appeal process if it's denied), you can't get it for "short-term" travel... which means no travel to Ethiopia (to visit family) and puts at risk pretty much any country we might move to for work (they're pretty much all on this list) AND currently the only airport that you can fly into is JFK.


Things don't have to be this extreme - all they have to do is to start requiring FAVN titers like other countries do!
 

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Can you provide a titer with your application, even if it’s not required, to potentially improve your chances of getting an exemption? Or did I see it is required? I think you’re saying they should just be required for travel so you don’t have to apply for a waiver, but I’m not sure. How long do the wavers last? I can see why they might temporarily discourage short term or vacation type travel with pets while they figure it out but that’s not my impression of the type of travel you do. i think most people who live abroad and travel home periodically wish it was more of a vacation - there’s so much to do!

That’s really frustrating. I hope people don’t end up with stranded pets, because the date is less than a month away and a lot of people plan international travel pretty far out! Wasn’t there a recent issue with stranded dogs somewhere because of a change? I don’t think it was covid related but maybe, I remember reading something about it and thinking it was awful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can you provide a titer with your application, even if it’s not required, to potentially improve your chances of getting an exemption? Or did I see it is required? I think you’re saying they should just be required for travel so you don’t have to apply for a waiver, but I’m not sure. How long do the wavers last? I can see why they might temporarily discourage short term or vacation type travel with pets while they figure it out but that’s not my impression of the type of travel you do. i think most people who live abroad and travel home periodically wish it was more of a vacation - there’s so much to do!

That’s really frustrating. I hope people don’t end up with stranded pets, because the date is less than a month away and a lot of people plan international travel pretty far out! Wasn’t there a recent issue with stranded dogs somewhere because of a change? I don’t think it was covid related but maybe, I remember reading something about it and thinking it was awful.
The titer is required if the vaccination was done outside of the US, but I assume that if you have a titer you can provide it as one of the documents regardless.

According to something else I read, it seems to be related to the number of people bringing dogs in (probably tangentially COVID related as people all over the world adopted more dogs during COVID) and the (sadly sometimes true fact) of falsified or questionable rabies certificates.

As for the waiver, according to how I read the website, it's because you're outside the US and "relocating" back to the US - so I assume it's a 1 time things. In general we move and live places long term - but the "short-term" aspect would be that I do bring Perry back with us around twice a year to the US - and so that would be short-term... In addition, hubby's family is in Ethiopia, so - for example - we couldn't go there for a month this summer and then come back (that would, I assume, be considered short-term as well).

Right now though there are many expats outside the US who are slightly panicked on what this means in terms of being able to get back to the US with their pets. My fear is that it's already complicated to travel with pets and this might result in a lot more people just saying 'screw it' and leaving their dog/ cat (happens already sadly too often!) Meanwhile those outside the US are trying to figure out if they can get back within the next month (the ban goes into effect 14 July) OR how to deal with it and the vets who deal in pet transport are trying to figure out the options.

I sincerely hope that this is truly short-term as they decide what to do long-term. Logically speaking I would anticipate (hope for) something similar to the EU - which requires a FAVN titer to travel there. If that's the case, it's a bit of a pain but as long as you know in advance, it's possible to do (I actually got Perry one last summer in Uganda - it required sending a sample to the UK to be tested and certified, so took a little longer, but was very do-able. I'm looking at redoing it here so that we constantly have a valid certificate no matter where we may travel - since each country has a different requirement as to how long before travel a titer needs to be done AND how long they're valid for - some are only valid for 12 months which is why I want to redo Perry's.)

The "good" news is that I don't have a job offer right now and we do anticipate being around for the next couple of months til his ortho vet gives him the ok to travel again... then (if I still don't have a new job) our first point of travel is likely Guadeloupe - which is an EU country and NOT on the banned list so we should be able to go there.

There were tons of cases of stranded pets during COVID - lots of people who were "evacuated" by their companies/ organizations when countries were shutting down airports and many airlines banned or restricted pets traveling during COVID. I know that our travel vet in Uganda had many many dogs that they were boarding while they tried to figure out routes and options to get the pets home to their families.
 

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I guess it’s not really fair to classify types of travel, but even though your travel is temporary, it’s also not casual vacationing about with your pet to return home for a period of time when you live out of the country. To me it’s like both you and your husband have two homes.

I remember you posting about the test that you sent out. Wasn’t there something about the length of time? Something about it being faster to send it to the UK than to do it here? My memory feels particularly mixed up today, I should stop guessing.

There must be a better way to organize and manage this problem immediately, for people stuck in the middle, while they move to some kind of titer system like you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I guess it’s not really fair to classify types of travel, but even though your travel is temporary, it’s also not casual vacationing about with your pet to return home for a period of time when you live out of the country. To me it’s like both you and your husband have two homes.

I remember you posting about the test that you sent out. Wasn’t there something about the length of time? Something about it being faster to send it to the UK than to do it here? My memory feels particularly mixed up today, I should stop guessing.

There must be a better way to organize and manage this problem immediately, for people stuck in the middle, while they move to some kind of titer system like you mentioned.
That's kind of what I'm thinking - there has to be a better way to manage things than to put bans on them... but let's just hope that it is temporary and a long-term fix will be put in place.

On the FAVN titer - we were stuck in Uganda because the airport was closed and potentially looking at moving to a place where we would need the titer, so we did it from there. Our vet was just using the UK lab, so it was easiest to do that. There's only 1 lab here in the US anyway so the UK one was easier from there.

We're looking to do it again here - but our vet quoted a cost of $500 which was a lot more than we paid in Uganda - even though the one in Uganda included having to ship the sample to another country AND fedex the results back to us... so we were shocked at the quote, especially considering that Kansas State Univ. charges $90 for the test (and is the only authorized lab to do it in the US for non-military personnel) - unclear if our vet uses some intermediary lab or if that was their own mark up. I'm waiting to hear back from them (I asked if i got all the documentation from Kansas state if they could draw the blood and prep it to send it off and how much that would cost - to skip their middleman lab).

I'm going to try not to stress about it - unless it's still in place in 2-3 months ... THEN I will stress!
 

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It is all this nonsensical importation of “rescue” dogs, which brings in diseases that threaten not only human health but also bring in depiseases that threaten our dogs. THAT is what they should stop. Not people traveling with their pets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So this is what the CDC said when I wrote and asked (surprised how quickly they responded)
"The ban is effective July 14, 2021. There is not concrete date on how long the ban will last. According to the FRN, this temporary suspension will remain in place until the earliest of (1) the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency; (2) the CDC Director rescinds or modifies this suspension based on specific public health or other considerations; or (3) 360 days from publication in the Federal Registrar (June 14, 2021). "

I'm more confused now because I don't know how this is related at all to COVID.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It is all this nonsensical importation of “rescue” dogs, which brings in diseases that threaten not only human health but also bring in depiseases that threaten our dogs. THAT is what they should stop. Not people traveling with their pets.
I have friends who have gotten their pups through these rescues, and there is a huge need, in the interest of these dogs (but that's a whole other discussion), but the easiest "fix" to this whole situation (which would reduce workload - if that is the real concern - and reduce potentially bringing rabies in) would be to just require anyone entering the US with an animal to have an FAVN rabies titer. Yes, it makes it a little harder when you travel, but if it was applied to everyone then you could plan and get them in advance (they are good for about a year) like you have to do to travel to Europe and then you wouldn't have to worry about where a dog has been and if it's ok for them to enter or not.

I feel like they're saying this is because of the additional workload of COVID, but in reality they're increasing their workload because they're going to have to field a lot of requests for exemptions - even if they choose to deny them. As someone who does a lot of root cause analysis in our work (what is the actual problem you're trying to address - and will that project actually address it...) and "do no harm" principles in implementing solutions, I feel like they're applying a "solution" that doesn't actually address the problem they've identified - AND causes more problems for others.
 

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- but our vet quoted a cost of $500 which was a lot more than we paid in Uganda - even though the one in Uganda included having to ship the sample to another country AND fedex the results back to us... so we were shocked at the quote, especially considering that Kansas State Univ. charges $90 for the test
I hear you Mel ! Last week Ricky's lab work for his allergen testing was $600+. The blood draw at the Vet's office was no charge, included in the $180 office appointment. It is shocking!

Domestic pet care and maintenance is a BIG business here in the U.S. The industry charges whatever the market is willing to bear. Pets are much more a part of a human's family than some other cultures.
 

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Yeah, two separate issues here, and we can get into the problems with diseases from imported rescues (Rabies is the least of it) another time. I can’t imagine how limiting people traveling with their dogs can help the Covid situation… especially at this late date. But if there is one thing that we havw seen over the last 18 months it is that the CDC is not what we would hope it was. It is reactionary, mercurial, and often makes decisions based not on facts but on some political pressure that is not very clear to us in the moment.
 

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I hear you Mel ! Last week Ricky's lab work for his allergen testing was $600+. The blood draw at the Vet's office was no charge, included in the $180 office appointment. It is shocking!

Domestic pet care and maintenance is a BIG business here in the U.S. The industry charges whatever the market is willing to bear. Pets are much more a part of a human's family than some other cultures.
My vet snd I were discussing this the other day when she was here doing the well puppy visit. I told her that for the first time, I was insuring Ducky, and considering also adding Panda. She said she used to tell people that she didn’t think insurance was worth it. Now she thinks it’s almost a necessity. The problem is, it’s a double edged sword. BECAUSE of insurance, people (and vets) immediately go to more expensive
diagnostics when they might have tried a ”treat and see” approach in the past. Injuries that would once have been considered a valid reason for euthanasia are now being successfully treated, but at huge expense, because the animal is insured. This is driving the over-all COST of veterinary care up, and she fears will also increase the cost of insurance, in the same never-ending spiral we see in human health care.
 

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Ricky Ricardo "Super Moderator"
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I told her that for the first time, I was insuring Ducky, and considering also adding Panda. She said she used to tell people that she didn’t think insurance was worth it. Now she thinks it’s almost a necessity. The problem is, it’s a double edged sword. BECAUSE of insurance, people (and vets) immediately go to more expensive
diagnostics when they might have tried a ”treat and see” approach in the past.
The fact that you are considering health care insurance is indeed interesting. I will be following what you decide to do and if insurance, what company. Here on the west coast many Vets are refusing to take insurance clients because of all the increased paperwork and hassle. I refuse to use Banfield at one of the big box pet stores. I know their Vets are licensed, but I worry about the level of health care you might get there. I know that I would give serious consideration to pet health insurance if I were to get a Havanese from one of the 'discount' Havanese breeders.

Personally, we go to a human dentist that gives a 25% discount off his published prices if we don't use insurance. I expect that is going to be an alternative model for veterinary services in the future as the cost of pet health care continues to skyrocket.
 

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The fact that you are considering health care insurance is indeed interesting. I will be following what you decide to do and if insurance, what company. Here on the west coast many Vets are refusing to take insurance clients because of all the increased paperwork and hassle. I refuse to use Banfield at one of the big box pet stores. I know their Vets are licensed, but I worry about the level of health care you might get there. I know that I would give serious consideration to pet health insurance if I were to get a Havanese from one of the 'discount' Havanese breeders.

Personally, we go to a human dentist that gives a 25% discount off his published prices if we don't use insurance. I expect that is going to be an alternative model for veterinary services in the future as the cost of pet health care continues to skyrocket.
It’s already done! After checking out a number of companies, I chose Trupanion, because they offer a very inexpensive rider that covers rehab. I only got “major medical” coverage, for accident and illness, with a $500 annual deductible. That keeps the monthly costs quite reasonable but still covers me if the crazy puppy swallows a sock. :ROFLMAO: Many insurance companies do not pay directly to the vet’s offices, and my vet’s office does not work directly with insurance companies. That is fine with me. I can send in receipts; that isn’t a big deal. Trupanion is also the company used by a lot of my dog friends in this area, and any who have had to make a claim say that they have been handled quickly and efficiently… and I’ve heard some horror stories about some other companies.

And there is no way on EARTH that I would take my dog to Banfield. But that isn’t an insurance company. That is a whole veterinary model, owned and run by Petsmart. So what would you expect?
 
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Ricky Ricardo "Super Moderator"
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It’s already done! After checking out a number of companies, I chose Trupanion, because they offer a very inexpensive rider that covers rehab. I only got “major medical” coverage, for accident and illness, with a $500 annual deductible. That keeps the monthly costs quite reasonable but still covers me if the crazy puppy swallows a sock. :ROFLMAO: Many insurance companies do not pay directly to the vet’s offices, and my vet’s office does not work directly with insurance companies. That is fine with me. I can send in receipts; that isn’t a big deal. Trupanion is also the company used by a lot of my dog friends in this area, and any who have had to make a claim say that they have been handled quickly and efficiently… and I’ve heard some horror stories about some other companies.
I just checked Trupanion for Ricky 😱 In California, $1200/yr for $610 deductible and 90% coverage (that's all they offer). Apparently the premiums go up each year as the pet ages up. That's about what I pay for my Kaiser Senior Advantage plan with a 80% coverage and maximum out of pocket $3500 per year stop loss and then 100% coverage. It is excellent health insurance. It saved my bacon last year for my $1M surgery and one month in ICU. I don't have to keep track of receipts, Kaiser does it for me and sends me a monthly statement. I wonder if I can add Ricky to my plan as a "dependent."

I think I will roll the dice with him, skip the pet insurance, and just carry him around in gilded cage!
 

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I just checked Trupanion for Ricky 😱 In California, $1200/yr for $610 deductible and 90% coverage (that's all they offer). Apparently the premiums go up each year as the pet ages up. That's about what I pay for my Kaiser Senior Advantage plan with a 80% coverage and maximum out of pocket $3500 per year stop loss and then 100% coverage. It is excellent health insurance. It saved my bacon last year for my $1M surgery and one month in ICU. I don't have to keep track of receipts, Kaiser does it for me and sends me a monthly statement. I wonder if I can add Ricky to my plan as a "dependent."

I think I will roll the dice with him, skip the pet insurance, and just carry him around in gilded cage!
The premiums go up to START for an older pet. But they are also very much based on vet costs in your area. Here in MA, you can choose a sliding deductible. I chose a $500 annual deductible for Ducky, and with the rider for the recovery and rehab services, his premium I think is is $35 per month. But that is starting as a baby puppy.

When I checked for Panda, with a $700 deductible, hers would be about $45 per month. (She is 5 years old) Kodi is too old to even consider trying to insure.


Like you, in the past, we have always “self insured”. But seeing what the cost of relatively “minor” surgical procedures are these days, I decided to change my mind at this point. At least for the puppy, and at least for those most vulnerable first couple of years. I chose relatively high deductibles for both, because I am not interested in nickel and diming them. I am concerned about getting hit with the sudden $10,000 vet bill that can come with a major illness or injury. We’ll see if I change my mind in a couple of years, but that’s what I’m doing right now!
 

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As someone who does a lot of root cause analysis in our work (what is the actual problem you're trying to address - and will that project actually address it...) and "do no harm" principles in implementing solutions, I feel like they're applying a "solution" that doesn't actually address the problem they've identified - AND causes more problems for others.
The implementation of roundabout solutions to problems has been mind blowing the last year. I think you’re right that they are probably short staffed and trying to decrease workload but being short sighted about how to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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The premiums go up to START for an older pet. But they are also very much based on vet costs in your area. Here in MA, you can choose a sliding deductible. I chose a $500 annual deductible for Ducky, and with the rider for the recovery and rehab services, his premium I think is is $35 per month. But that is starting as a baby puppy.

When I checked for Panda, with a $700 deductible, hers would be about $45 per month. (She is 5 years old) Kodi is too old to even consider trying to insure.


Like you, in the past, we have always “self insured”. But seeing what the cost of relatively “minor” surgical procedures are these days, I decided to change my mind at this point. At least for the puppy, and at least for those most vulnerable first couple of years. I chose relatively high deductibles for both, because I am not interested in nickel and diming them. I am concerned about getting hit with the sudden $10,000 vet bill that can come with a major illness or injury. We’ll see if I change my mind in a couple of years, but that’s what I’m doing right now!
They definitely are higher to start an older dog. When I got Perry and was signing up for his insurance, I checked about getting it for my Mom's (at the time) 7 year old scotty and the cost just didn't seem worth it. For Perry, the costs do occasionally go up (inflation I guess), but right now we're paying about $50/ month with a $250 annual deductible for 90% coverage. We're with Healthy Paws and I've been happy so far (this year will definitely be the real test - so far they've covered stuff... the leg surgery is the major test since they could try to say it was pre-existing before he was covered... I think we have a very good argument for why it wasn't - the twist was, but the need for surgery is because of what developed after ... when the vet looked at it 2 years ago she didn't think he'd need surgery but that changed - so we'll see if they try to fight it and make us jump through hoops.)

The thing with insurance is that you could pay their whole lives and never need it - or you could be me and Perry - where, at 5, having paid for about 4 1/2 years (so having paid in less than $2700 so far) we're at claims for about $13k (minus the $250 annual deductible and the 10% that we have to pay) and counting so well worth the cost for us. His x-rays last month alone were more than our premium for the year (and given that we will need to do annual x-rays to keep track of the lesions on his spine, worth continuing the insurance).

His ortho vet clinic does not deal with the insurance, I have to pay out of pocket and then submit the claim but it's super easy to do that - I go online, upload the receipt, upload any supporting medical docs, and click submit. They're supposed to finalize in 10 days, but sometimes it goes a little longer (last one was about 16 working days). The big one for the leg surgery is in process now, fingers crossed.
 

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His ortho vet clinic does not deal with the insurance, I have to pay out of pocket and then submit the claim but it's super easy to do that - I go online, upload the receipt, upload any supporting medical docs, and click submit. They're supposed to finalize in 10 days, but sometimes it goes a little longer (last one was about 16 working days). The big one for the leg surgery is in process now, fingers crossed.
Healthy Paws and Pets Best seemed to be the most highly regarded among the people I talked to, although one of my pet people used ASPCA for her previous Havanese and was happy enough with it that she plans to use them again.
 

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It’s already done! After checking out a number of companies, I chose Trupanion, because they offer a very inexpensive rider that covers rehab. I only got “major medical” coverage, for accident and illness, with a $500 annual deductible. That keeps the monthly costs quite reasonable but still covers me if the crazy puppy swallows a sock. :ROFLMAO: Many insurance companies do not pay directly to the vet’s offices, and my vet’s office does not work directly with insurance companies. That is fine with me. I can send in receipts; that isn’t a big deal. Trupanion is also the company used by a lot of my dog friends in this area, and any who have had to make a claim say that they have been handled quickly and efficiently… and I’ve heard some horror stories about some other companies.

And there is no way on EARTH that I would take my dog to Banfield. But that isn’t an insurance company. That is a whole veterinary model, owned and run by Petsmart. So what would you expect?
my feelings on pet insurance have completely changed since getting Sundance. I used to think that as long as we were in a position to cover a couple of thousand dollars in bills from our emergency fund we were fine. And I felt really grateful to be in a position to be able to do that, since we were well into our 30’s with 2 kids before that was even remotely possible. But $2-3,000 only covers relatively simple emergencies. I have seen people post that their bill for a dog needing to be hospitalized on IV fluids or while passing a foreign object, or for a surgery that would mean 10 more years of life, run well over $5,000. And many dogs with chronic conditions can easily be treated long term and live long, happy lives. I know very few people who wouldn’t have to “make it work” for a $3,000 bill, and many people we know would not be able to do it at all. I don’t know if Trupanian worked this way for Panda, but when DH started looking into insurance a while ago, he found that it’s really pretty reasonably priced, even for a 3-4 year old dog, but Sundance would need to wait a period of time after his injury to qualify for coverage. Even if we don’t end up doing it for him, we will definitely do it for a second Havanese. Even though regular vet costs can be expensive, I have planned for those, even his dental at this point. It’s the potential emergency bills, and I think it’s horrific that people have to choose between euthanasia and treatment (or can’t choose because they don’t have the money) because their dog eats a sock.
 

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my feelings on pet insurance have completely changed since getting Sundance. I used to think that as long as we were in a position to cover a couple of thousand dollars in bills from our emergency fund we were fine. And I felt really grateful to be in a position to be able to do that, since we were well into our 30’s with 2 kids before that was even remotely possible. But $2-3,000 only covers relatively simple emergencies. I have seen people post that their bill for a dog needing to be hospitalized on IV fluids or while passing a foreign object, or for a surgery that would mean 10 more years of life, run well over $5,000. And many dogs with chronic conditions can easily be treated long term and live long, happy lives. I know very few people who wouldn’t have to “make it work” for a $3,000 bill, and many people we know would not be able to do it at all. I don’t know if Trupanian worked this way for Panda, but when DH started looking into insurance a while ago, he found that it’s really pretty reasonably priced, even for a 3-4 year old dog, but Sundance would need to wait a period of time after his injury to qualify for coverage. Even if we don’t end up doing it for him, we will definitely do it for a second Havanese. Even though regular vet costs can be expensive, I have planned for those, even his dental at this point. It’s the potential emergency bills, and I think it’s horrific that people have to choose between euthanasia and treatment (or can’t choose because they don’t have the money) because their dog eats a sock.
Perry's front leg surgery bill was $5367.95 (and an extra $56 for additional gabapentin today) - and that's not even an "emergency" with potential long-term treatment, hospitalization, etc. Not to mention just diagnostics - just the CAT scan for the spinal lesions was $2000 and the biopsy was $1348.45!
 
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