I Wish I Had Pet Insurance When…I Was Laid Off and My Dog Needed Help

Mih-kit-see now has the best dog insurance.

In 2008, before I started working for Pets Best Insurance, I had just lost my job at a vet clinic. One day I noticed my dog Mih-kit-see acting funny, like something was bothering her hind end. I noticed a red color in the area, and of course as a certified veterinary technician, I thought the worst: I thought she had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and had visions of bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration. I had no money to take her to the vet for treatment. How I wish I had insurance then, as I had no way to treat hemorrhagic gastroenteritis at home.

I cried and hugged her, as I felt it was going to be a long, hard night. I took her outside and looked again, and noticed the discharge on Mih-kit-see was just blood. I looked more closely and noticed an anal gland abscess had ruptured. While this is still a messy, uncomfortable condition, it is much more treatable than hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, so I almost cried with joy. Had I had insurance, it would have been a simple trip to the vet for an exam and antibiotics. But because I didn’t, I had to treat her at home by flushing the wound, and it took at least twice as long to treat. I understand not every pet owner has a veterinary background like I do, and without it, I would have been even more worried.

Even as a vet tech, home treatment was nerve wracking because of the risks involved. If it didn’t heal correctly or didn’t heal at all, it could have caused a fistula or nerve damage resulting in incontinence.

We got lucky and Mih-kit-see recovered– but it was an extremely stressful time that would have been made so much easier with pet insurance. She’s now insured with Pets Best Insurance, as is her litter mate Ki-yoo, and my Bernese Mountain Dog, Nick. Mih-kit-see hasn’t had any more anal gland problems, but I have used my insurance for the other two dogs, and I am so glad to have it.

When people ask me how many kids I have, I always say I have six: a seven-year old boy, a two-year old girl, three dogs, and one cat. Now that I have pet insurance and know how much peace of mind it brings, I wouldn’t go without it just as much as I wouldn’t go without health insurance for my human kids.

Share Your Story and Win
Was there ever a time you wished you had pet insurance? Share your story with NAPHIA for a chance to win. And in honor of National Pet Health Insurance Month, please share this blog with your friends and family who own pets!

True or False? Top 5 Beliefs About Spay and Neuter

A dog with dog insurance sticks out his tongue.

Congrats! You’ve made the decision to adopt a new four-legged member into your family. As you undoubtedly want to get started on the right foot, you’ve visited your vet, bought pet health insurance, and plan to have the newest edition spayed or neutered. Perhaps you’ve done a little research on the best time to have this procedure done. The timing of puppy and kitten spaying and neutering is a hotly debated topic with much misinformation and myths, even amongst veterinarians.

Shelters vs. Veterinary Hospitals

Pediatric spaying and neutering is broadly defined as spay/neuter surgery performed between 6 and 16 weeks of age, or any time before the typically recommended 6 months of age. The most common reason this happens at such a young age is due to shelter situations. Shelters are anxious to get puppies and kittens adopted out, and want to help control the pet population by ensuring pets are altered before going to their forever homes. It is unrealistic for shelters to house these pets up to 6 months of age and then alter them.

In a veterinarian setting, this is less of an issue, as your vet hopes to develop a relationship with you and trusts you’ll return for the recommended procedures and the recommended times. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) has published surgical and anesthetic protocols based on clinical research reporting that early spay/neuter is safe in an effort to stem pet overpopulation.[1]

So we know it is safe, but when is the right time for your pet? Here are some common misconceptions about spaying and neutering pediatric animals.

1. Early spaying or neutering will stunt growth: False

This is likely not clinically true.  Some studies even suggest that the growth plates remain open longer when the pet is altered earlier, but this isn’t likely to make any appreciable difference in final size.

2. Early spaying/neutering will protect against certain cancers: True and False

This is true in the case of mammary cancer in females. Literature suggests that the risk of developing mammary cancer in a pet spayed before her first heat cycle is less than 1%, after her first heat cycle her risk rises to 8%. It is false, however, that early neutering protects against prostatic cancer in males. The incidence of prostatic cancer is equivalent in neutered and intact males. [2]

3. Early spaying causes urinary incontinence in females: Unknown

The jury is out on this one. Cornell university did a long term study on dogs spayed prior to three months and found 12% of the early spayed females versus 5% of the later spayed females developed incontinence, but a Texas A&M research projects suggests there was no change in the numbers affected based on age spayed.  There have even been some studies showing the opposite to be true, that females spayed later had more urinary incontinence. Clearly there is a need for more research to settle this dispute.

4. Spaying and neutering causes obesity: False

It is statistically true that altered pets tend to be heavier than their intact counterparts, but obesity is highly linked to a variety of contributing factors and is largely preventable with diet and exercise. Even intact pets can be heavy if overfed.

5. My pet’s personality will change with spaying or neutering: False

There doesn’t appear to be any appreciable effect on personality with early spay/neuter. Certainly a pet spayed or neutered at any age will have fewer hormonally-driven behaviors such as urine marking, territorialism, roaming and fighting.

Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about the timing for your puppy of kitten to be spayed or neutered, and any reservations or questions you have about the procedure.

 


[1] American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  http://www.aspcapro.org/pediatric-spayneuter.php

[2] American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  http://www.aspcapro.org/pediatric-spayneuter.php

The Silent Killer: High Blood Pressure in Cats

A dog with dog insurance sticks out his tongue.

Millions of people in the United States have high blood pressure – hypertension – and many of them don’t even know it. Often described as “the silent killer” because it can be present for a long time without symptoms, hypertension is also seen in cats. It’s especially common and dangerous in older cats, whose owners usually don’t know they’re affected. Cat insurance can make it easier to ensure your cat is seen regularly by a veterinarian.

Common Causes and Symptoms
High blood pressure in cats is usually discovered as a complication of other underlying medical conditions and is therefore referred to as “secondary hypertension”. The most common causes are chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. High blood pressure in cats without any underlying disease is rare and not well understood.

Hypertension is damaging to many different body systems. It can cause:Read More…

Surprising Cause of Cat Nose Crusties

Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from the Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. I’m here today to answer questions from the Facebook page of Pet’s Best Insurance. This one is from Nicole. She says, “I’ve had my kittens, Oliver and Sophia, brother and sister, since they were three weeks old. They are now 1.

They always had a red brown crusty substance caked on the passages of their little noses. It builds up and I always clean it. The other kittens in the litter have it as well. I’ve always been worried it was blood. Is this normal? If not, is there something I can do about it. Their parents are feral cats which worries me even more.”

Read More…

Why’s My Pet Doing That?!

A dog with dog insurance sticks out his tongue.

Is your dog or cat doing something and you aren’t really sure why? At Pets Best Insurance, we want to help you interpret some of the behaviors you may be seeing from your pet. So by popular request, here are some of the most sought-after answers to questions you may have about your dog or cat. Please keep in mind that we will list only the most common answers for each question. If you need further clarification, be sure to ask your vet!

Q: Why is My Dog Shaking?
A: Shaking usually indicates one of the following: cold temperature, fear or anxiety, discomfort and pain, or even possibly a medical illness. A doctor should see animals that shake for extended periods of time.

Q: Dogs Rule and Cats drool… But Why Does my Cat Drool?
A: Cats will often drool if they ingest something that tastes unpleasant (or are given certain medications). They can also drool as a result of nausea or intestinal disease, dental problems, oral infections, tumors and neurologic disease. I’ve seen cats drool when they become excited or receive attention as well.

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