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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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In recognition of National Pet Wellness Month, we present the

Top Ten Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthy:

  1. Twice a year examinations
  2. Protective vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance
  4. Microchipping
  5. Spay/neuter
  6. Internal parasite control
  7. External parasite control
  8. Dental care
  9. Proper diet
  10. Exercise

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Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Most Common Causes of Veterinary Visits

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Brea, Calif. (April 2, 2013) – Just like their human counterparts, when pets are afflicted with even seemingly minor ailments such as an ear infection, stomach ache or cough, it can prompt a visit to the doctor. While the majority of these conditions are rarely life threatening, they can become chronic and expensive to treat. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $58 million in 2012 treating the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their pets. 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 the top 10 dog and cat medical conditions in 2012. Below are the results:

 

Top Dog Conditions  Top Cat Conditions
1. Skin Allergies 1. Bladder Infection
2. Ear Infection 2. Periodontitis/Dental Disease
3. Skin Infection 3. Overactive Thyroid
4. Non-Canerous Skin Growth 4. Chronic Kidney Disease
5. Upset Stomach/Vomiting 5. Upset Stomach/Vomiting
6. Arthritis 6. Diabetes
7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea 7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
8. Bladder Infection 8. Skin Allergies
9. Periodontitis/Dental Disease 9. Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node
10. Bruise or Contusion 10. Upper Respiratory Infection

 Compare this list with the Top Ten Medical Claims of 2010 and Top Ten Medical Claims of 2011.

“Although a few of the top 10 dog and cat conditions can be associated with an animal’s natural aging process, many of the conditions listed above can occur in any pet,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Regardless of the age or breed of the dog or cat, pet owners should familiarize themselves with their pets’ daily routine in order to identify abnormal behaviors that might indicate an injury or illness.”

In 2012, VPI received more than 68,000 canine claims for skin allergies, the most common cause for taking a dog to see a veterinarian. The average claim fee was $96 per office visit. For cats, a bladder infection was the most common reason to take your kitty to the veterinarian. VPI received more than 4,000 medical claims for this ailment – with an average claim amount of $251 per office visit.

The most expensive canine condition on the list (arthritis) cost an average of $258 per visit, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (lymphosarcoma) cost an average of $415 per visit. In addition to familiarizing themselves with their pets’ routine and behavior, pet owners should schedule their pets’ semiannual veterinary examinations on a regular basis to help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.

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October is National Pet Wellness Month, whether your pet is a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, or mountain lion (let’s hope not). We’ve listed 5 ways you can keep your pet healthy and safe. They are:

  1. Twice a year examinations
  2. Protective vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance
  4. Microchipping
  5. Spay/neuter

But is that all there is? Heck, no! There are three Mondays left in the month (including today), so we have to keep going with this theme!

        6.  Internal parasite control
        7.  External parasite control

An internal parasite lives inside the host body (your dog or cat.)

An external parasite lives on the surface of the host body.

Parasites not only rob your pet of blood and nutrition, they often carry diseases and other parasites which get passed on to your pet for an added whammy. People may also be affected, as in the case of fleas that transmit plague and Bartonella (also known as cat scratch fever) and ticks that transmit Lyme disease.

Common internal parasites in our region include:

Common external parasites in our region include:

  • fleas
  • mosquitoes
  • ticks
  • lice
  • mange mites
  • ear mites (even though they live in the ears, they are considered external parasites)
  • ringworm
  • maggots 

Flies lay eggs at the site of open wounds; maggots hatch out and feed on the decaying flesh. Pets that live outdoors and are rarely tended to are at greatest risk.

Protect your pet from parasites with these steps:

  1. Use a veterinary-approved monthly heartworm and intestinal worm preventative. Revolution for cats also protects against fleas and ear mites.
  2. Use a veterinary-approved monthly flea control product. Regular monthly application is the key to reducing the flea population on your pet.
  3. Do not allow your pet to contact or ingest feces or garbage.
  4. Brush or comb your pet daily, if possible. Check for visible bugs like fleas, ticks, and lice. If you find maggots in a wound, take your pet to the vet ASAP for treatment. Look for changes in the skin that may signal microscopic bugs. You may see patches of fur loss; red, flaky skin; “dandruff” that walks; lesions; and raised red rings. 
  5. Bathe your pet at least monthly (more often if it is a dirt-lover). Keep the skin free of dirt and fur mats that can provide shelter for parasites. Fur mats that are left untended can also lead to sores, which then become a target for flies ready to lay eggs.
  6. Inform your veterinarian of changes in your pet’s skin or coat condition. Those changes may be due to parasites or to food allergies or an under-performing thyroid, so an exam and tests may be necessary to properly diagnose the problem.
  7. Gently swab your pet’s ears with a drop of baby oil on a cotton ball. Some yellowish to brownish ear wax is common – it protects the ears from dirt and bugs. If you see crumbly black debris, pus, or drops of blood, your pet may have an infection or ear mites. Have your vet check it out.
  8. Keep your pet on a high-quality food appropriate for its lifestage and activity level. Malnourished pets are at greater risk for becoming overrun with mange mites.

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Last week, we talked about forming a Pet Wellness Plan that consists of three parts:

  1. Twice a year examinations
  2. Protective vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance

Today, let’s add two more items to the To-Do list:

       4.  Microchipping
       5.  Spay/neuter

Easy!

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