By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.
Chronic conditions are a fact of life for humans and pets. These diseases are classified as chronic because they last a long time, oftentimes permanently. The frequency of chronic diseases increases as the pet ages.
For example, some common chronic conditions that affect elderly pets include arthritis, liver diseases such as Cushing’s, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and kidney failure. However, young pets can also develop chronic, lifelong conditions such as epilepsy (seizures) and skin allergies (also called atopy).
Pets Best commonly sees pet insurance claims for chronic conditions. For example for dogs, skin allergies (atopy) accounts for 30% of all dog health insurance claims received, Osteoarthritis 10%, and hypothyroidism 7%. For Cats, renal (kidney) failure makes up 25% of all cat health insurance claims received, hyperthyroidism 20%, diabetes mellitus 11%, and allergies 8%.
Managing Chronic Conditions – Why It Costs So Much
Typically, chronic diseases require long term medications. For example, pets with epilepsy will take anti-seizure medication for their whole lives.
Chronic conditions often require close management and monitoring. This means that your pet will become very familiar with his or her veterinarian as they often require periodic blood work and medication dosage changes. While most chronic conditions require some sort of prescription medication management, some require expensive compounded medications that are not easily available. Many pets with chronic conditions end up being surrendered at a shelter or given away because owners can’t afford expensive special medications, regular monitoring, blood work, etc.Read More…