Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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Cat Pulling Hair and Flea Infestations

Posted on: July 14th, 2011 by

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

Our first question is from Alexandra. She writes, “My cat keeps ripping his hair out. Every time I go to the vet, they give him a shot. He stops for a week and then I’m out $400 and he’s still ripping out his hair. He doesn’t have fleas, either.”

Alexandra, I can certainly sympathize with you. Having a pet with a chronic condition can be both frustrating and expensive. It sounds like your cat may have allergies and I suspect that the shots that he’s getting are steroid shots. Work with your veterinarian to try to determine whether he might have food allergies or whether he could have allergies to something that he’s breathing in, either in the home or outside.

If he does have inhalant allergies, you can give him a pill about every other day that will keep him comfortable during the allergy season. That would certainly be a lot easier on your pocketbook and it would be easier and safer for your kitty to not get repeated steroid injections.

The next question is from Katie. She writes, “I have two 5-year-old sibling indoor cats. They never go outside and we have no other pets, yet they have fleas year-round. One cat in particular gets just infested. We use Advantage or Frontline on a regular basis. What else can we do?”

That’s certainly an unusual problem. I haven’t really had any incidences of the Advantage or the Frontline failing. I would definitely think about where the fleas are coming from. I’d recommend that you continue to use the Advantage or Frontline once a month as you’re doing right now. In addition, I would recommend that you treat the house with a spray that kills both the fleas and is going to work on killing flea eggs for many weeks. This should help get things under control. Your veterinarian can help guide you as to the best products to use for the problem.
www.petsbest.com

Pet insurance in Texas

Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by

A dog with Texas pet insurance rides on a horse with his owner.

Southern states can present pet health issues. Hot, humid climates have challenges, especially for pets that are not used to the extreme temperatures. Wildlife, pests and plant life indigenous to the state can be serious health threats. This is true of pet health in Texas, which is why it’s a good idea to check out the best pet insurance and coverage options in Texas.

Texas Pet Laws
• Rabies: Texas, like most states, has particular laws that pet owners must abide by. Rabies is an ongoing concern in most states, but due to so much uninhabited land in Texas, rabies is a very real threat to pets. Texas requires that cats and dogs, age 12 weeks of age or older must be vaccinated against rabies and have a certificate that reflects that. The rabies vaccination must be given every three years.

• Spaying and Neutering: Texas requires that all animals up for adoption in shelters must be spayed or neutered before they are adopted. Some pet health insurance companies offer limited coverage for spaying and neutering.

• Quarantine: Any pet entering the country that is less than three months of age must be confined at home until it reaches three months and can have its rabies vaccination.

Pests and Toxic Plants
Like many southern states, Texas has mosquitoes. As mosquitoes carry diseases affecting both humans and pets, it’s important to be proactive in preventing diseases in pets. Heartworm is very prevalent in southern states because it is spread by mosquitoes.

Ticks are also a problem in Texas. It’s important for you to be diligent about your yard maintenance and watch for ticks on your pets. Pets are naturally curious and will investigate interesting wildlife like snakes. They will also eat vegetation that could be poisonous. Be very careful when using any pesticides, however, as they can be poisonous to animals. Read the labels carefully.

Pools
Hot climates usually influences more pools. Most people in areas of the country with extreme heat have at least a small pool in their yard. Pools can be life-threatening to pets, as not all pets are good swimmers. If pets are not used to a pool and fall in, they may have trouble getting out. The sides are too slippery for them to negotiate and they may quickly become exhausted and drown. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can be poisonous, too. Never leave your pet unattended around a pool.

Texas Pet Insurance Coverage
Check into pet insurance coverage in Texas as there may be items that are particular to the state or different areas of the state.

Hot Spots on Dogs, Injection Stress

Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by


Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinarian Hospital. I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

The first question comes from Riley the Labrador. “What do you recommend for a dog with hot spots?” Hot spots are areas of dermatitis or infected skin that are usually self-inflicted. They can be related to underlying allergies, so first and foremost you’re going to want to see your veterinarian in case your dog needs to be put on antibiotics or other medications.

In the future, what you can do to prevent the hot spots would be try to find out what’s triggering them, if it’s underlying allergies to food or the environment. Sometimes boredom can play a part, too, so dogs that are crated or confined for a while can be affected. You can try special shampoos. Antihistamines are sometimes helpful. Probably starting with your veterinarian is going to be the best choice for you.

The next one comes from Jennifer. “I have to give my dog two shots a day and she fights so hard. I’ve tried everything I can think of and nothing seems to work.” This is a tough one. Dogs that are diabetic or need allergy shots will sometimes be required to get injections.

The best thing you can probably do is to try and distract them so make it a two-person job. Have somebody feed the dog treats or praise them or pet them while you’re doing the shots behind. Distraction is probably going to be your best option. Also, reward the dog. They know what’s coming, so if they know that there’s going to be a treat afterwards, it may make it a little bit better.

Dogs that receive insulin are usually given shots that have really small needles so pain is pretty negligible. I wonder if your dog may be picking up on your stress from administering the injections as well. If you could try to make it a more relaxed environment and sort of a less stressful time for the pet, they might do a little better.
www.petsbest.com

Tips: Compare pet insurance

Posted on: July 11th, 2011 by

A cat is attended to by a veterinarian.

Pet insurance comparison takes time, but you want to pick out a plan that best suits you and your cat or dog. If you’re leaning towards a particular plan, start there, comparing it to others’ terms and conditions of coverage.

Pets Best Insurance
The following are the selling features of Pets Best Insurance:

• The pet insurance company’s founder is a vet and had 25 years of experience in the pet insurance industry before starting the company.

• The company is a member of NAPHIA, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

• You can choose any licensed vet, anywhere in the world.

• MRIs, CAT Scans, and X-rays are covered.

• Prescription medications are covered.

• The plan covers cancer and many other illnesses and accidents.

• Claims are processed fast and the company now offers Direct Deposit Reimbursement.

• You are reimbursed 80 percent of your actual vet bill, after your deductible.

• Their entire policy is available as a download on their website, including a list of hereditary exclusions.

• There are no upper age limits.

• The company offers additional BestWellness coverage, which covers routine care costs as an add-on.

“Alternative” Therapies
Unlike other pet insurance companies, Pets Best Insurance covers the following treatments:
• Acupuncture
• Chiropractic care

Get a Quote
Starting with the above information, thoroughly read Pets Best pet insurance policy and then ask for a coverage quote coverage for your pet(s).

Compare Cat Insurance and Dog Insurance
After you have learned all you need to know about this particular pet health insurance company, compare its features and coverage with several others—then you can make an informed decision.

Zap! Why I finally put an E-collar on my dog

Posted on: July 11th, 2011 by

A dog with pet insurance runs after prey.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Electronic collars, also called e-collars, shock collars or static collars, are highly controversial among dog owners. Some believe they’re bad for pet health, and anyone who’s tried to buy one at a popular pet store has probably been intercepted by the resident trainer, pushing obedience classes over electronics.

When I adopted Jayda last year, I was definitely on team obedience. But after 15 months of dog training, I haven’t been able to put a dent in my dog’s insatiable prey drive. Jayda will run out the front door and sprint around the neighborhood looking for something to chase. She barks incessantly and chases cats and squirrels when we’re on walks or at friends’ houses. She even barks out the window at work when I take her to the pet insurance office. She jumps up on countertops to get cats and recently tried to join two wild mink fighting near the river. She picks fights with small dogs at the dog park.

In addition to being dangerous, Jayda’s behavior means she must be on a leash and prong collar 100% of the time outside the house, and she can’t come with me to visit friends who have cats. She can’t even be off-leash to fetch or swim while we’re camping.

Jayda is calm and obedient at home but seems to go into a trance when the prey drive kicks in. She doesn’t even flinch when I give a command or pop her prong collar. After one particularly stressful evening involving a Pomeranian at the dog park, I decided it was time to get complete control over my dog before she got us both in trouble.

The e-collar I chose has two buttons, a “tone” button that makes a beeping sound, and a “static” button that delivers the correction. The tone button is always used first, and for some dogs, that’s enough to disrupt the bad behavior.

The static button has 10 levels of correction, but Jayda only needed level 3 before she reacted to it. The reaction to watch for is very subtle: twitching the ears or trying to look at his or her own neck. No dog should vocalize or panic while wearing the collar. The goal is never to hurt them.

According to the instruction booklet, e-collars should only be used to correct one behavior at a time to avoid confusing the dog. This means that I‘ll only correct Jayda for chasing until she’s mastered the “no chase” command. Once we’ve covered that, we’ll move on to proper interaction with other dogs at the dog park.

Last night we took a walk and came upon the neighbor’s cat. Jayda usually goes crazy at the sight of Samson, but it was a different story with the e-collar. When Jayda started lunging, I said “No chase” and pressed the tone and static buttons. Jayda immediately stopped going after the cat and walked back to me. It was amazing. No yelping, no barking, no hissing.

I know that e-collars are controversial, but when my dog runs out the front door, goes after a cat or starts a fight with another dog, I need a way to stop her. Her life depends on it, and for that I’ll take any amount of controversy.

Dog owners and pet insurance enthusiasts , I’d love to hear from you: what’s your opinion on e-collars? How have you dealt with difficult dog behaviors?