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Veterinary Wellness Exams Lower Overall Pet Costs According to Nationwide Data

One of the costliest aspects of being a pet owner is providing proper veterinary care when medical issues arise. A great way to take a bite out of veterinary expenses without shortchanging your pet’s health is to provide preventive care with annual comprehensive wellness examinations. To show the potential savings that wellness care can provide, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted through its database of more than 600,000 insured pets to determine cost savings associated with the most common preventive dog and cat conditions. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive veterinary care:

Dental Diseases:

Examples: Tooth infection or cavity; periodontal disease.

Average cost per pet to treat: $391

Average cost per pet to prevent: $180

Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing your pet’s teeth, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is having your pet’s teeth cleaned by a veterinary professional. This annual cleaning will remove plaque buildup and tartar before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. It’s recommended that pets have their teeth checked by a veterinarian every six to 12 months.

 

External Parasites:

Examples: Lyme disease transmitted by ticks; and allergic dermatitis caused by fleas.

Average cost per pet to treat: $244

Average cost per pet to prevent: $121

Prevention tips: Use preventive flea and tick medications as recommended by your veterinarian. Keep your pet and home environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and contact your veterinarian if fleas and ticks are spotted.

 

Internal Parasites:

Examples: Heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms and Giardia.

Average cost per pet to treat: $207

Average cost per pet to prevent: $35

Prevention tips: Annual fecal exams and preventive medications, can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation. Keep your pet and your home environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet’s feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet ventures outside your home. 

 

Infectious Diseases:

Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus.

Average cost per pet to treat: $841

Average cost per dog to prevent using core vaccines: $94

Average cost per cat to prevent using core vaccines: $81

Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol recommended by your veterinarian may include additional vaccines based on your pet’s exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc.). 

 

Reproductive Organ Diseases:

Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia.

Average cost per pet to treat: $609

Average cost per pet to prevent: $323

Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.

 

Respiratory Infections:

Examples: Tracheobronchitis or kennel cough; feline upper respiratory virus

Average cost per pet to treat: $190

Average cost per dog to prevent: $24

Average cost per cat to prevent: $21

Prevention tips: The Bordatella vaccination as recommended by your veterinarian.

“Seeking a veterinarian’s recommendation for wellness care not only saves pet owners money, but also helps prevent our pets from unnecessary, painful ailments,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “The cornerstone of good veterinary care has always been catching diseases early. I strongly recommend that pet owners schedule routine wellness examinations with their local veterinarian. Being proactive is in your pet’s best interest.”

Nationwide’s newest and most popular pet health insurance plan, Whole Pet with Wellness®, is the only pet insurance plan in the United States that includes wellness care in its base plan, with coverage for procedures such as spay/neuter, vaccinations, dental cleanings, flea/tick medications, heartworm medication and prescription pet food.*

*Whole Pet with Wellness will cover 90% of eligible veterinary expenses after the annual deductible is met. To learn more about pet health insurance plans and coverage, go to www.petinsurance.com

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 600,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

 

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We've got a basket full of gift ideas for pet owners!

We’ve got a basket full of gift ideas for pet owners!

If you’re stuck on what to buy for the pet-enthusiast in your life, don’t be afraid to go with a practical gift they can really use!

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Check out these ideas, from Left to Right:

  1. VetzLife Oral Care Gelremoves tartar from teeth and freshens breath; available in mint or salmon flavors
  2. Pill Crusher crush pills into a fine powder and make them more palatable by mixing with food
  3. HyLyt Shampoo a gentle, hypoallergenic moisturizing shampoo that promotes healthy skin and coat
  4. Seresto Flea & Tick Collar — up to 8 months of flea and tick control in one collar
  5. Dermal Soothe Spray – helps keep skin moisturized and itch-free
  6. Nail Trimmer easy-to-use nail trimmer for dogs and cats
  7. Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution — add to pet’s drinking water to aid in keeping teeth clean and freshening the breath

All of these items are available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

As a bonus, we’ll throw in a free flying disc* with your purchase — just ask!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

*While supplies last.

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National Pet Dental Health Month

PetDental_logoPet

Q: Can pets get cavities?
A: Pets, like their human owners, can get cavities. However cavities are relatively rare in pets because pets’ diets generally aren’t high in decay-causing sugars. Veterinary dental experts have noticed a mild rise in the incidence of cavities among pets fed sugary treats. To avoid cavities in your pet’s mouth, feed only pet food and treats designed for pets.

Q: My cat broke off a tooth. Can the tooth be replaced?
A: Veterinary dentists can install crowns and replacement teeth for pets with damaged or missing teeth. Your family veterinarian can provide a referral to a veterinary dental specialist, when it is appropriate.

Q: Isn’t bad breath in pets just natural?
A: No. While it is true that bad breath can indicate a more serious illness, bad breath in pets is most often caused by bacteria that form when plaque and tartar are not removed from the teeth, which may cause a gum infection.

Q: When is my pet too old for toothbrushing?
A: Your pet is never too old for toothbrushing. In fact, the older your pet gets, the more important it is to keep plaque and tartar from accumulating. Studies show that bacteria from dental diseases can move systematically into the vital organs. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy is an important step in your pet’s overall good health.

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These questions and answers taken from “Dr. Logan answers your frequently asked questions” 
http://www.petdental.com/html/body_2a_faq.htm (expired link)

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You’ve probably heard us say that we don’t recommend giving bones to dogs, but did you know the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) feels the same way? This is what the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA has to say about it:

     Ten reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone — 

  1. Broken teeth.  This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries.  These can be very bloody or messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in the esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach.  Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up and will need to go to the emergency hospital.
  5. Bone gets stuck in a windpipe.  This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone.  This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing.  Get your pet to the emergency vet immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in the stomach It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines.  Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which the veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage.  It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along.  This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum.  This is very messy and can be dangerous.  It’s time for a trip to the doctor.
  10. Peritonitis This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines.  Your dog needs an emergency visit to the vet because peritonitis can kill your dog.

Est. 1973

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This article originally appeared on August 8, 2011.

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Thanks to an abundance of education and dental products, many pet owners are aware of the importance of oral health care in dogs and cats. Indeed, many owners agree to pet dental cleanings, which are performed under general anesthesia and provide the highest level of dental care for a pet.

(What can you do for your pet’s dental health at home?
The answer is here.)

Traditionally, routine dental cleanings have been performed at the primary veterinarian’s office, with great success and no ill effects. However, veterinary care standards are changing, and that could affect the level of care your pet receives.

For instance, the standard of care for dentistry is now moving towards intra-oral, or full mouth, radiographs (X-rays), to more accurately determine the health of tooth roots and jaw bones. A pet’s mouth can appear clean and healthy, while at the same time exhibiting bone loss on X-ray. This becomes especially important in the case of tooth extractions.

A pet can suffer a broken jaw during a tooth extraction if the veterinarian is unaware of the shape or location of the tooth root or of bone loss leading to increased fragility of the jawbone. These risks should be expressed to the owner in advance of tooth extractions. The risk can be more accurately predicted, and perhaps minimized, through the use of dental X-rays.

Naturally, when a service is added, the overall fees increase. A dental X-ray + teeth cleaning and extractions will cost more than just a cleaning and extractions. However, the benefit of avoiding broken jaw bones is more than worth the extra cost incurred for X-rays.

In some recent experiences of pet owners across the U.S., broken jawbones that occurred during tooth extractions cost the owners $4,400 in one case; $3,000 in another case; and $10,000 in a third case. In each case, dental X-rays were not performed, and could have been useful in predicting complications.

(Need tips on brushing your pet’s teeth?
We have them here.)

Dr. Miele refers dental cases to a local veterinary dentist who includes full-mouth X-rays as part of his standard level of care. This allows the veterinary dentist to know ahead of time if there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. For instance, did you know that a veterinary dentist will perform root canals in order to save a pet’s teeth, rather than pulling them?

(What happens when a tooth root becomes infected?
Find the answer here.)

Veterinary dental care has become more sophisticated over the years, allowing your pet to receive the highest level of care available. And since oral health is related to overall health in pets, it is one area not to be overlooked. We trust your pet’s health to our local veterinary dental specialist, because we believe that your pet will receive a high standard of care before, during, and after its dental procedures.

Est. 1973

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Information from this article borrowed from AVMA/PLIT Professional Liabilty Newsletter, Vol. 34, No. 3

 

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Pet dental care

It’s never too late to start brushing your pet’s teeth, but persuading Fluffy and Spike to go along with it can be a challenge. Here are 8 great tips to help you ease your pet into a new part of its daily routine:

  1. Introduce a brushing program gradually: training your pet for this procedure may take several days or weeks.
  2. At first, dip your finger into beef bouillon for a dog or tuna water for cats, and rub your finger over the pet’s mouth and teeth.
  3. Make these initial sessions brief and positive.
  4. Introduce gauze on your finger with the same beef or tuna flavor and begin rubbing the teeth in a circular motion.
  5. Before graduating to a soft-bristle toothbrush, put a small amount of pet toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to taste it.
  6. Place the toothpaste on the toothbrush and allow your pet to lick the bristles.
  7. Apply a small dab of toothpaste to a moist toothbrush and begin brushing gently at a 45° angle away from the gumline.
  8. Do not use a toothpaste designed for people; it contains ingredients that may upset your pet’s stomach.

     February is National Pet  Dental Health Month.
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Tips reprinted from the Pet Owner’s Guide to Oral Care, available at our clinic.

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Originally posted on February 15, 2012.

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Annual Examinations Can Save Pet Owners from Racking Up Expensive Bills

Brea, Calif. (March 5, 2013) – Pet owners can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars on veterinary costs each year by taking pets to their veterinarian for routine examinations. Preventive care is one of the most important factors for pet owners to maintain their pet’s health, and has the added benefit of minimizing total expenses on veterinary care. Nose-to-tail wellness examinations are an excellent way of catching any potential – and likely expensive – problems early on. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine costs associated with the most common preventive canine and feline conditions in 2012. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive care:

 

Dental Diseases: 
Definition: Diseases caused by, or directly related to inflammation or infection of the gums or teeth due to overgrowth of bacteria. 

Examples: Tooth infection or cavity and periodontal disease. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $531.71 
Average cost per pet to prevent: $171.82 
Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing teeth or feeding pet foods designed to help reduce dental tartar, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is a professional teeth cleaning which will remove plaque buildup and tartar before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease.

 

Internal Parasites: 
Definition: A parasite is a plant or animal that lives within another living organism (called the host). Pets may acquire conditions caused directly by a parasite or the pet’s response to the parasite living within its body.
Examples: Round worms, tape worms and giardia.
Average cost per pet to treat: $179.93
Average cost per pet to prevent: $29.51
Prevention tips: Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet’s feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet goes for a walk. As recommended by your veterinarian, annual fecal exams and preventive medications can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation.

 

External Parasites: 
Definition: A plant or animal that lives upon another living organism. Pets may acquire conditions caused directly by a parasite or the pet’s response to the parasite or its bite. Some conditions are the result of a toxin or organism (e.g. bacteria, virus, etc.) transmitted by the parasite which can cause an illness. 

Examples: Heartworms transmitted by mosquitoes, Lyme disease transmitted by ticks and flea allergic dermatitis. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $180.67 
Average cost per pet to prevent: $84.89 
Prevention tips: Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and remove any ticks you find with a pair of tweezers. As recommended by your veterinarian, use preventive medications and vaccines to limit your pet’s exposure to fleas, ticks and the diseases they carry.

 

Infectious Diseases: 
Definition: Conditions transmitted via bite or contact with another animal which carries a transmittable or communicable disease (virus, bacteria, fungi, etc). Transmission of disease can occur in various ways including physical contact, contaminated food, body fluids, objects, airborne inhalation, or through biological vectors (any agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism). 

Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $678.24
Average cost per canine to prevent using core vaccines: $85.14 
Average cost per feline to prevent using core vaccines: $73.52 
Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol will be recommended by your veterinarian, which may include additional vaccines based on your pet’s exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc). Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas and ticks to limit exposure to organisms that external parasites carry. In addition, keep your pet away from any other animals that may be sick.

 

Reproductive Organ Diseases: 
Definition: A reproductive organ is any of the anatomical parts of a pet’s body which are involved in sexual reproduction. Pets may develop conditions caused by, or directly related to, the pet having intact reproductive organs. 

Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia. 
Average cost per pet to treat: $531.98 
Average cost per pet to prevent: $260.69 
Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.

“As the data above shows, regular pet preventive care can significantly lower potential costs,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Similar to ensuring that all members of the family see their doctor regularly for wellness visits, it’s just as important for pets. Taking preventive measures can avoid more serious and expensive medical conditions from arising down the road and helps keep our furry, four-legged family members on track for a long and healthy life.”

 Est. 1973

 

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

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