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A dog with pet insurance can walk again

Posted on: July 25th, 2011 by

A Chihuahua with pet insurance can walk again.

By: Dr. Fiona Caldwell
Idaho Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

Veterinary Pet health insurance makes sense. With the rising cost of veterinary care many people are forced to make tough decisions when it comes to their pet’s health needs in the time of crisis.

The US spent about 48 billion on their pet’s care last year. Nothing can feel worse than not being able to provide for the furry family members you love. Unlike human medicine, most veterinary clinics do not have the resources to treat animals without being paid for their services. As with most things in life, it is impossible to plan or know if or when your pet may become ill or injured.

For Helen this was unfortunately something she found out first hand. When her older Chihuahua mix became critically ill, she found as a senior citizen on her limited budget, she was unable to afford care for her. It took a while for Helen to recover from not only losing her friend, but feeling the guilt that with better financial stability, or pet insurance, she could have had more time with her. When she was ready she opened her heart to a new Chihuahua from the shelter, a sweet jet black girl named Sassy. This time Helen made sure to sign up for pet health insurance.

Three years went by and Sassy was as healthy as ever, with no need for the use of the pet insurance plan Helen had purchased for her, until one day after leaping from the couch Sassy cried out and began limping on a hind leg. Helen made an appointment at the local veterinary clinic to determine what was wrong.

After examining Sassy, it was apparent that she would benefit greatly from surgical correction of the injured knee. Helen didn’t hesitate and scheduled her surgery for the following week. Sassy did great after surgery and Helen realized she wouldn’t have been able to provide this for Sassy had she not invested in the pet health insurance policy three years earlier. Veterinary orthopedic surgery is costly and can range from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on area of the nation, size of the pet and whether the surgeon is a Board Certified Specialist. In most cases it is required that this is paid in full at the time of the surgery.

About three months after Sassy’s surgery Helen noticed something disturbing, now Sassy was limping on the other knee. After visiting the veterinarian’s office again she learned the bad news that Sassy’s other knee was affected as well. It was unfortunate that Sassy had just recovered from her last surgery, but the recommendation was to have the other knee corrected as well.

Within the span of three months Sassy had two major orthopedic surgeries that were very costly. As a senior citizen, Helen was so grateful to have her pet health insurance policy cover the majority of her bill. Sassy would not have received the surgery she needed without it. Today Sassy is doing great on her two repaired knees and Helen will always be an advocate of cat and dog insurance, as it made a difference in her life and Sassy’s as well.

Cats Going Into Heat After Spay; Scratching Where They Shouldn’t

Posted on: July 22nd, 2011 by

Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. I’m answering a few questions today from the Facebook page of Pets Best Insurance.

Our first question is from Bryant. He writes. “After cats get spayed, can they still have heat symptoms?”

Yes, in rare cases that can sometimes happen. Usually what we have is that there is some ovarian tissue outside the ovary itself, somewhere in the abdomen, that’s not easily seen, that is still functioning ovarian tissue making the hormones and so the cat can come into heat, even after she’s had her spay surgery.

This is pretty rare but it can happen. Work with your veterinarian. He or she can determine if that’s truly what’s going on. If it is, unfortunately the kitty has to have surgery again so that they can go in and find that tissue, take it out, and prevent her from going into heat again.

The next question is from Katie. She’s talking about a couple kitties that she has. She says, “They are indiscriminate scratchers, ignoring their many scratching posts and climbing toys in favor of the carpet, the leather furniture, or whatever happens to be handy, such as someone’s leg. We are at our wits’ end with these two kitties.”

It’s important to remember that scratching is a very normal behavior in cats. They do it for several important reasons. First of all, they can flex and stretch their muscles and joints. It also helps to remove the old sheath that’s on the outside of the claw and it’s very important for scent marking, too.

It’s most important to know that this is normal. They are going to do it. What you need to look at is providing them with a lot of different types of scratching posts, like you have done. Also, look at what they are choosing to scratch on and then try to simulate that same surface on the scratching post, whether it’s cloth, carpet, wood, or even sisal rope. You also want to make sure that you are putting the scratching posts in the common areas, the busy areas of the house so the kitties are more likely to use them. If those scratching posts are tucked away in a corner, it’s not going to happen.

It’s also very good to put the scratching posts near the areas where they like to sleep or nap. Most kitties do want to stretch and scratch immediately after getting up, so if you put the post there they are more likely to use them. Another good idea is to rub or spray catnip onto the post to try and make them more attractive.

You definitely want to try to keep your kitties’ claws trimmed on a regular basis. That may be anywhere from every two weeks to every month. That will prevent a lot of the damage that’s being done. There are also nail caps that can be glued onto the kitties’ claws to prevent damage. If you are not making headway with these suggestions then you want to contact your veterinarian. There are a lot of other ideas that can be used. Sometimes the veterinarian may even advise you to check with a veterinarian behavior specialist.

Something lurking in your lawn

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 by

Why your puppy needs pet insurance

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 by

A puppy with dog insurance chews on a toy.

Puppies can be trouble. They are curious and mischievous which means they can get into all kinds of things and cause chaos. A puppy that is left alone can do some serious damage, like chewing your favorite shoes, or even causing damage to your home. Dog insurance can cover your puppy if she gets carried away and actually ingests something she should not eat, like your shoe, a child’s toy, a favorite towel, or even your wedding ring.

Lack of puppy exercise is a major contributor to boredom, which leads to puppies chewing excessively. Puppies that chew excessively can end up destroying their toys, and if they are left for long periods of time, puppies can chew other items in the home including furniture, personal items, and even the actual walls of the house. Dog insurance helps to ensure that if your puppy does eat something, the vet bill won’t leave you financially strapped.

Eating non-food objects can lead diarrhea and other pet health conditions in puppies. A foreign object is a serious medical concern. Foreign objects can cause a blockage of the intestines, which can lead to death if not treated. If the object perforates the intestines, the situation then turns into a medical emergency. Pet insurance should be a requirement for all puppy owners in case the worst happens to your curious puppy.

To keep your puppy from chewing things they shouldn’t, keep them in an area where they can be supervised at all times. Use pet gates to keep your puppy out of rooms that are not puppy-proofed. Exercise your puppy daily to help stimulate them both mentally and physically.

Young Dog Going Gray and a Female Dog Who Marks

Posted on: July 20th, 2011 by

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

This one comes from Haley. She writes, “My dog is only four years old. She used to be pure black, but now her entire face and the back neck have turned gray, so much so that people think she’s 15 years old. Is it common for dogs to prematurely gray and could it be stress-induced?”

This is really common. It tends to be the darker dogs where it’s the most profound. There is thought to be a genetic link so genes can play a role in it. Labradors, for example, are a common breed where this happens. The Black Labs will go gray prematurely. It’s probably not related to any sort of underlying problem or disease and it’s probably not stress-induced. It’s probably just normal for her.

The last one comes from Christa. “Is it normal for a female dog to urine mark like a boy when we’re on walks in the park?”

This is a great question. Yes, it is normal. This can be a learned behavior. Typically it is male dogs that will mark more than female dogs but female dogs can do it, too. They’ll even lift their leg like a boy dog. If she’s squatting uncomfortably or it’s a new behavior for her, you might want to ask your veterinarian just to make sure there’s not something new like a urinary tract infection. But if it’s something she always does at the park, it’s probably normal for her.