Author Archives: Hadley Rush

Cat health care: How to prevent hairballs in your cat

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A cat ensures proper pet health with grooming.
Having a cat means you have your fair share of cat hair. It’s not only a nuisance; it can cause cat health care issues. Dealing with cat hair can seem like a never-ending battle. Keeping the amount of hair that your cat sheds at a minimum will help control the cat health care issue and cut down on their chance of developing hairballs.

Cat hair balls are a common pet health problem in cats with longhair cats being more susceptible to them. According to Dr. Guglielmino, of the Cornell Feline Health Center, it’s normal for cats to vomit a hairball once every one to two weeks.

Hairballs occur from a build-up of hair in the cat’s stomach caused from habitual grooming. Most of the hair will pass through the stomach and intestines and will eventually leave the body when the cat relieves itself.

A hairball will form when some of the hair remains in the stomach. Over time the hair will become a ball-like shape. The cat will usually vomit to get rid of the hairball. The hairball can leave the stomach and travel through the intestines and cause pet health problems like intestinal blockage. When this occurs, surgery must be performed to remove the obstruction.

You can help your cat avoid hairballs by brushing your cat daily. This will help remove most of the excess hair, which will cut down on the amount of hair the cat will ingest. Another option for longhair cats is to have their hair cut to a shorter length. If your cat is prone to hairballs, discuss options with your veterinarian to keep your cat in the best pet health possible.

Cat insurance can mean longer, healthier lives

Sophia, a cat with pet insurance, looks into the distance.

By: Chryssa Rich
Pets Best Insurance Marketing Associate

A few years ago, my parents adopted a beautiful Ragdoll cat from a local shelter and instantly fell in love with her. Just a couple of months later, however, they noticed she wasn’t eating or drinking normally.

X-rays revealed Sophia had an intestinal blockage. Surgery would’ve cost around $2,500 – not an amount most pet owners are prepared to shell out for a cat they’d just recently adopted. At the time, I had just returned from living outside the U.S. and none of us had heard of health insurance for cats.

My parents decided the price was too high, especially when there was no guarantee Sophia would be cured. So the vet helped us keep her hydrated with injections of fluids while we tried alternative methods to move the obstruction. We gave her little blobs of petroleum jelly and massaged her abdomen daily, and we fed her liquid food with a syringe. Sadly, her health continued to decline dramatically, the obstruction didn’t budge. Finally, my parents made the decision to have Sophia euthanized.

Every spring when the snow melts, my dad prunes the bushes around Sophia’s little grave and straightens the pink bow on the wooden cross over her. They acknowledge now that pet insurance could’ve meant a different path for Sophia. Even if her intestinal blockage had turned out to be genetic and incurable, they wouldn’t be left wondering, “What if?”

Cat Insurance Makes a Difference for Cats
Every day, more and more cat owners are realizing that cat insurance is a good idea. They learn that cat vet bills are just as expensive as dog vet bills, that cats get into trouble just like dogs do, and that pet insurance can offer real financial protection.

Brenda B. from Wisconsin has a story like Sophia’s, only with a happy ending. Brenda has cat insurance with Pets Best Insurance and that’s what likely saved his life. She writes: “My Ragdoll, Furby, needed surgery that would cost between $2,500 and $4,100. It would have broken my heart to have to put him down because I could not afford the surgery he needed.”

On our Facebook page, we often hear from cat owners about the benefits of cat insurance. Lisa O. of Missouri has two cats insured with Pets Best Insurance, one of which is a senior pet she couldn’t insure elsewhere. She writes: “Our kitty Felix is 15 and has ongoing kidney issues. Not only did Pets Best insure him when he was 14….they have covered over $3000 in medical bills….and never any hassle or worry for us.”

Lisa P. from California wrote on our Facebook Reviews page: “We just lost our 17 year old kitty. Having the insurance on her let us afford the medications she needed and any procedures to keep her going for many extra years.”

Pet health issues: Common cancers found in dogs

By: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A nurse tends to a sick dog.
Before I began working for a pet insurance company, I had no idea that animals could develop cancer. But I’ve recently learned that dog cancer is the cause of almost half of the deaths of dogs aged 10 years and older.

Much like cancer in humans, dog cancer symptoms will vary depending on the type of cancer that has developed in the dog. Cancer can cause a rapid decline in pet health and pets that show any unusual symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Although there are numerous types of dog cancers, there are four types that seem to affect pet health the most.

One of the most common is dog lymphoma. Lymphoma accounts for 10-20% of all cancer found in dogs and causes swelling of the lymph nodes. The most noticeable lymph nodes are located on the sides of the neck and inside the armpit area. When the lymph nodes are swollen, owners usually notice that something doesn’t look right on their pet.

Another common cancer found in dogs is skin cancer. Malignant (cancerous) tumors tend to grow fast and usually have an irregular shape. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to skin cancer, as well as dogs that have light colored hair and spend a lot of time in the sun. If your dog is lighter in color, ask your veterinarian if he or she might be at risk for skin cancer.

Bone cancer is another form of cancer that can affect pet health in dogs. Bone cancer accounts for 5% of all cancers found in dogs. This type of cancer occurs in the limbs of dogs 75-85% of the time. Bone cancer is most common in older giant breed dogs. Limping is usually the first sign of bone cancer.

Breast cancer is another common cancer in dogs. Breast cancer is a unique pet health problem that it is almost 100% preventable. Spaying a dog before her first heat cycle can nearly eliminate her risk of getting breast cancer. One in four un-spayed dogs over the age of 4 years will develop breast cancer. Dog health insurance will help cover the cost of having your dog spayed, which can keep her from developing this devastating disease.

Dr. Jack Stephens, the pioneer of the pet insurance industry in the US and the president of Pets Best Insurance thinks the reason more pets are developing cancer is because they are living longer thanks to new developments in technology.

“Early detection and identifying the exact type of cancer is critical to determining which course of treatment should be taken,” Dr. Stephens said.

Dr. Stephens suggests giving special attention to dog health care and finding out which cancers are most common in your pet’s breed so you will know what to look for.

Cat health care: Litterbox training

Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
Two kittens play play with each other.

Once you’ve brought your new little ball of fluff home, you should introduce your kitten to the litter box—ideally cat box training should begin the very first day you have your cat.

According to the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, kittens are born with the instinct to dig in loose material and this instinct is used when training kittens to use a litter box. Letting your kitten know where the litter box is will hopefully cut down on any pet health problems or future accidents.

Place kitty litter boxes in quiet areas of the house. Clumping litter is the preferred type of litter to use in the box because it tends to be easier for cleanup. When training a kitten, leave a small amount of urine and feces in the litter box so that the kitten can smell it and associate the box with going potty. Once the kitten is trained you can fully clean the litter box as necessary.

To ensure proper cat health care and limit accidents, it’s a good idea to put the kitten in the litter box after it has been sleeping, eating or playing. If you notice your kitten scratching the floor, or displaying other signs that it may need to relieve itself, place them in the litter box immediately.

Keep placing them in the box until they begin to use the litter box on their own. In the beginning, you may want to confine the kitten to one room until they get used to using the litter box before giving them free reign of the house.

Put a litter box on each level of the house. This will ensure that the kitten can get to a litter box in a timely manner. It is also recommended that you have one litter box per cat to ensure that a box is available at all times.

If you have trouble getting your kitten to use its litter box, talk to your veterinarian to ensure your cat is in good pet health.

Homeless pet health: A volunteer crusade

A puppy in dire pet health waits for a meal.
As many as 25% of homeless people in the U.S. own pets—and local activists want to lend a helping hand.

According to the news site, it’s often difficult for homeless people with pets to find shelter—simply because many shelters don’t allow animals inside. Not only does this deter the homeless from getting food, but it may impact pet health.

“Often the homeless choose to stay on the streets or live in cars to avoid having to give up a beloved dog or cat. It is difficult to find food for themselves, and feeding their pets adds to the challenge,” the news provider reports.

Local activist Dorothea Cassady contacted Ginny White of Ginny’s Helping Hands to help collect and distribute supplies to the pet-owning homeless.

“These people have been sleeping in their car since the beginning of March with their two dogs,” White told the of a homeless family. “They have a shepherd and a Chihuahua. That’s their kids. They will not give up their kids.”

White told the news provider she joined forces with Cassady because she also saw a need for this volunteer service and was worried about homeless pet health.

Genevieve Frederick, director of Feeding Pets of the Homeless, told the news provider that they’ve increased the number of distribution sites where the homeless can get food for their pets.

“We have distribution sites at food banks and places where homeless congregate,” Frederick told the news source.

Aside from getting help from Ginny’s Helping Hands, Cassady plans to reach out to veterinarians and other food drive services to join Feeding Pets of the Homeless.

The activists told the news provider that they will continue to do what they can to ensure good pet health, even for those without roofs over their heads.

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