Pet insurance, Should you or Shouldn’t you?

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The majority of our clients who have pet insurance are happy that they have it.  Depending on the type of policy as well as which company/pet insurance you choose, pet insurance can be worthwhile.  Like any type of insurance it is in place to make sure that when an emergency or something unforeseen occurs it will help cover the costs.  When an unexpected illness, accidents or emergency occurs you may be faced with hard choices due to financial considerations.  Insurance helps eliminate some of those choices.

“While you can’t predict when accidents or illnesses will happen, a pet health insurance plan will help you deal with unexpected veterinary costs, and you’ll know you’re providing the best possible protection for your pet.”  Not only will you be protecting your pet but potentially protecting yourself from making heart wrenching decisions based on finances

But like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can be complicated.  Depending on the policy that you choose, some policies will not cover older pets or genetic conditions that certain breeds are known to have, such as hip dysplasia in retrievers.  It is very important to check as well as compare various products that different companies offer to find one that will meet your needs.

Some people may be more comfortable putting aside money every month for their pet in a “Pet savings account” to cover the unexpected.  By putting money aside to pay for future work you may be covered for the unexpected veterinary care.  However you must be diligent about putting the money aside.  But what happens if the “future” turns out to be in a couple of months from when you initially started your savings plan?  That would not be so good.  For example, your puppy is playing with a red rubber ball, accidentally chews it up and swallows it.   Not good.  Or… your cat somehow swallows a needle, Yikes.  Sounds unlikely, true, but it happens more than you would think.  All are unexpected accidents.

The Steinway Court Vet recommends a few different companies based on how pleased our clients are regarding ease of reimbursement and of course the amount of that reimbursement.

Nationwide Pet insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance

http://trupanion.com/pet-insurance

http://www.petsbest.com/

http://www.akcpethealthcare.com/

http://www.gopetplan.com/

There are many others.  Please get free price quotes from these and any other company.  Compare apples to apples when you receive your free quotes.

Do I have an Emergency with my pet?

Have you ever wondered if you have an Emergency and needs you to seek emergency care for your pet?  Here are a few emergencies that will need you to get to the nearest emergency clinic ASAP.  ANY concern about your pet’s health warrants, at minimum, a call to our office.  718-728-2822

  • Your pet isn’t breathing or you can’t feel a heartbeat.
  • Your pet is unconscious and won’t wake up.
  • Your pet has been vomiting or has had severe diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she is vomiting blood.
  • You suspect any broken bones, lameness or inability to move leg(s).
  • Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
  • Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
  • Your pet is bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth or rectum, or there is blood in her urine or feces.
  • You think your pet might have ingested something toxic, Common pet toxinsinclude but are not limited to:
    • Rat poisons (D-con)
    • Chocolate
    • Prescription, over the counter or illegal drugs (BRING THE CONTAINER WITH YOU)
    • Artificial sweeteners (e.g. xylitol)
    • Nicotine
    • Household cleaners.
    • Antifreeze
    • Certain household plants (e.g. Easter lillies)
    • Any kind of medication that wasn’t prescribed.
    • Please bring the ingested product if possible with you.
    • Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
    • Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
    • Your pet collapses or suddenly can’t stand up.
    • Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
    • You can see irritation or injury to your pet’s eyes, or she suddenly seems to become blind.
    • Your pet’s abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or she’s gagging and trying to vomit.
    • restlessness, retching and abdominal swelling in large breed dogs
    • You see symptoms of heatstroke.
    • Refusing to eat or drink for more than 24 hours.
    • Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between delivering puppies or kittens.

Most important, remember to trust your instincts. You know and love your pet, and you have the right to be worried if something seems wrong.

Xylitol Poisoning from sugarless gum and other products

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Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is found in fibrous vegetables and fruit.  This  includes  mushrooms, raspberries, strawberries, yellow plums, lettuce and cauliflower. In fruits and vegetables the amount found is miniscule therefore most Xylitol is made in the lab.

Xylitol is used instead of sugar because it helps reduce the development of dental caries and plaque formation as well as being  low in calories.  Xylitol is a common ingredient in sugar-free products such as sugar-free candy, chewing gum, baked goods, and oral hygiene products.    Xylitol also is an ingredient in many over-the-counter human drugs, such as chewable vitamins,  throat lozenges and sprays.

However it is nothing like sugar for our four legged dog friends.  . Unfortunately, many people are unaware that Xylitol, even in minute amounts is extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested in significant quantity, the toxin causes severe liver necrosis (destruction). The amounts necessary are surprisingly small.  Should a 10 pound dog ingest a stick and a half of sugarless gum,  it is sufficient to cause life-threatening liver failure.

If you notice that you dog ate sugarless gum or another product that contains Xylitol seek immediate medical care!  Dogs with this intoxication should be presented as soon as possible to a veterinarian for evaluation of liver function  via blood work.  If the ingestion is noticed quickly, the  therapy would include  inducing vomiting.  If it is caught  late, agents may be given orally to try and bind the Xylitol in the gut. Supportive care with intravenous fluids, antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial hepatitis, and mucosal protectants may aid in recuperation.

Sadly, most of the time, however, dogs simply present with sudden onset liver failure. which can make the diagnosis difficult and delay onset of treatment if the owner does not know about the ingestion of the gum.

Please keep this and other hazards away from your dog.

Curious about Xylitol and other household hazards?  Watch this.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435

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