Pet Insurance Myths Debunked!

By Kelley Gebhardt, DVM

The following are actual statements made by local pet owners regarding pet insurance.

Myth #1: All pet insurance carriers are the same.
There are currently 16 pet insurance carriers in the United States and all of them differ based upon their quality of service, monthly premiums, reimbursement percentages, deductibles, and payout limits. The best advice would be to take time to research each of the pet insurance carriers and compare them to one another. The most helpful and user friendly web resource that we have found is This website will help you find the right pet insurance for you and your pet through quick and easy comparative sheets and tools.

Myth #2: I do not need pet insurance because I have no problem paying for general pet care.
Pet insurance is not designed to cover general and wellness care, which can be budgeted for. It is intended to be used for unexpected pet health issues, such as illnesses or accidents. For example, a pet that was seriously injured after being hit by a car may require extensive medical care, surgery, and days of hospitalization. The total cost of care can be significant (thousands of dollars). Wouldn’t it be easier to make the decision to treat your pet if you knew you would be getting up to 90% of your money back?

Myth #3: My pet is indoors only, so I would never have the need for emergency services or pet insurance.
The majority of patients seen for illnesses or accidents spend most of their time indoors with their owners. Indoor pets still chew up toys and ingest inappropriate items, get into the trash, receive table scraps, ingest human medications, suffer traumatic injuries, develop systemic disease (i.e. kidney disease, heart disease, cancer), and so on. The medical care required to treat all of these problems and many others would be covered by pet insurance.

Myth #4: My pet is 10 years old. He is too old to qualify for pet insurance.
Most pet insurance carriers have plans for senior pets, as long as they are enrolled before 14 years of age. While pet insurance often excludes pre-existing conditions, there are many senior pet health issues that would still be covered by pet insurance.

Myth #5: I have a Great Dane. Because of his breed, he is predisposed to bloat and would not be approved for coverage by pet insurance carriers.
Pet insurance companies do not exclude specific breeds from being covered. However, they often exclude coverage for specific conditions that are high risk in certain breeds (i.e. bloat in Great Danes). These specific medical exclusions vary between pet insurance companies. This should not stop you from getting pet insurance for your Great Dane. Since there are so many other health issues that can occur with any pet, their breed or certain excluded conditions should not keep you from getting pet insurance.

Myth #6: I have a Dachshund that had back surgery or a Labrador who had knee surgery, so he would not be eligible for pet insurance.
In both of these cases, the problems arose and the surgeries were performed prior to the owner applying for pet insurance. Therefore, these specific problems would be considered pre-existing conditions and would not be covered under any pet insurance policy. However, there are numerous other health issues that would be covered by the pet insurance including: vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, traumatic injuries, heart disease, and kidney disease, just to name a few. Pre-existing conditions should not stop you from getting pet insurance.

Myth #7: My cat has had urinary issues before, so he would not be eligible for pet insurance.
Like the Dachshund and the Labrador in the previous example, this cat would not be covered for any medical issues relating to his urinary tract problems because they would be considered a pre-existing condition. However, other health issues that he might develop would be covered. Examples of such potential problems include: a corneal scratch; bite wounds; abscesses; vomiting caused by eating a toxic indoor plant; or foreign body surgery. There are many more medical problems that would also be covered by pet insurance.

With all veterinarians accepting pet insurance and the realization that up to 90% of your unexpected veterinary bills for your sick or injured pet could be covered, what are you waiting for? By having your pet covered by pet insurance, you will be able to give them the necessary medical care without worrying about the cost. Remember to visit the website to compare all the pet insurance carriers. If you are looking for a suggestion, we frequently recommend Trupanion Pet Insurance. Visit for more details or call (855) 591-3103 to take advantage of their free 30-day trial.




The Woes of Aging...Managing Arthritis

By Katherine Wallace, DVM

Does this sound familiar? Fluffy has a hard time getting up in the morning or moving around after long naps. She used to love to take five-mile hikes and now seems to get stiff or sore after a one-mile trot. Maybe you have noticed that she plays less and naps more. Sometimes, she may be reluctant to go up and down stairs or has difficulty getting into the car. You may wonder, “Is my pet feeling a lot of pain, or is this a normal change associated with aging? Could this be arthritis?” It can be difficult to determine how much pain our pet is experiencing. Your veterinarian is the best person to evaluate your pet for arthritis and to steer you to the right treatment to help keep Fluffy moving and grooving for as long as possible.

Arthritis is a painful joint disease that tends to worsen over time, and it can affect both dogs and cats. Arthritis can affect any or multiple joints such as the knees, elbows, hips, shoulder or back. As the bodies of our pets age, normal wear and tear can damage parts of the joints. Deterioration of joints also can be hastened by obesity, previous injury, or other orthopedic conditions. This deterioration results in inflammation and eventually pain. You may see this expressed in your pet as slower movement, stiffness, decreased activity, or in severe cases, limping.

Your veterinarian starts by taking a detailed medical history and then performing a thorough examination. Sometimes blood tests and other diagnostics such as X-rays are recommended to diagnose arthritis and to rule out other diseases and orthopedic conditions.

Most owners have heard about prescription pills that help with arthritis-associated pain. However, many people don’t realize there are other good options that may work for your pet. Not every dog and cat is the same. Below are some options that you may want to discuss with your veterinarian.

Laser therapy is a therapeutic treatment that uses light energy to reduce inflammation and block pain. Laser therapy does not take a lot of time, and there is no heat, redness or swelling during or after the treatment. Most owners notice positive results after one to three treatments. Chronic conditions such as arthritis can be controlled or improved with regular laser therapy sessions.

The Assisi Loop is a device that uses low-level pulses of electromagnetic energy to help improve pain, increase mobility, reduce swelling, and decrease the need for pain medication in an animal with arthritis. It is a loop that you put around the area of pain and leave on for 15 minutes. The Assisi Loop can be used at your home and works well in combination with other arthritis treatments or on its own.

Supplements, including Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate (Dasuquin, Cosequin), Adequan injections, Omega fatty acids (fish oil), and Vitamin E help lubricate your pet’s joints and thus protect the joint cartilage from further wear-and-tear. Studies show these supplements also may provide a slight anti-inflammatory benefit. Overall, these products won’t hurt your pet and are a good addition to other arthritic therapies.

Anti-inflammatory medications, specifically NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications), are commonly prescribed for arthritic pets because they have the most consistent noticeable beneficial effects. You may have heard of these products (Rimadyl, Metacam, Previcox, Deramaxx), which work by reducing swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. It is important for your pet to have routine blood work done while on these medications because potential long-term side effects can include stomach ulcers, and liver and kidney problems. There is a new anti-inflammatory medication on the market called Galliprant which may be associated with less severe side effects.

Don’t forget, any extra weight on your pet can worsen arthritis pain. Always talk with your veterinarian to make a plan that is right for you and your pet.


Ask the Vet columns can be downloaded by clicking on any of the links below:

February 2017 - Nutrition and Your Pet

February 2017 - Lyme Disease

January 2017 - Anxiety in Dogs

January 2017 - Lumps, Masses and Bumps, Oh My!

December 2016 - Pet Insurance Myths Debunked!

November 2016 - The Litterbox

November 2016 - The Coughing Dog

October 2016 - Puppy Love, Kitten Love

October 2016 - What's the Itch?

September 2016 - The Urban Chicken

September 2016 - Feline Heartworm

August 2016 - Obesity in Dogs

August 2016 - Benefits of Surgical CO2 Laser in Veterinary Dermatology

July 2016 - Ferret Adrenal Gland Disease

July 2016 - Help for the Healers

June 2016 - SENIOR PETS

June 2016 - Top 5 Things You Don't Want to Tell Your Vet (but Should!)

May 2016 - PHYSICAL REHABILITATION: Let's Keep Your Pet Moving

May 2016 - Summer! What a Wonderful Time of Year, But Be Aware of the Hazards

April 2016 - Spring Brings "Tick Season"!

April 2016 - VETERINARY HOSPICE: Caring Beyond a Cure

March 2016 - What Does the Term 'Regenerative Medicine' mean?

March 2016 - Dental Disease: The good, the bad and the preventable...

February 2016 - Chronic Inflammation

February 2016 - Canine GI Upset

January 2016 - Feline Inappropriate Urination

January 2016 - Arthritis in Veterinary Medicine

December 2015 - Make the Holidays Happy, Not Hazardous!

December 2015 - Ear Health: What's Going on in There?

November 2015 - Hip Dysplasia, PennHip Testing and the Eradication of Hip Dysplasia

November 2015 - Feline Cardiac Disease

October 2015 - What's Up With My Pet's Bottom?

October 2015 - Why Every Pet Needs a Veterinarian

September 2015 - Even Our House Pets Can Pick Up Intestinal Parasites

September 2015 - "MY CAT ATE WHAT?!?!?

August 2015 - Heat Stroke

August 2015 - Bite Wounds - Dogs, Cats & Snakes. . .Oh My!

July 2015 - Therapeutic Laser for Your Pet

July 2015 - Would You Like an All Natural Way to Manage Your Pet's Allergies?

June 2015 - The Skin-ny on Your Pet's Skin

June 2015 - Complementary & Alternative Therapy for Pets

May 2015 - The Importance of Blood Work!

May 2015 - Ticks and Your Pet

April 2015 - Benefits of "At Home" Veterinary Care
March 2015 - The Newest Techniques for Managing Musculoskeletal Diseases

March 2015 - Anticipatory Grief

February 2015 - Canine GI Upset - When to Seek Medical Attention

February 2015 - The Shocking Truth. . .Normal, Healthy Cats Do Not Vomit

January 2015 - Preventive Care: Changing Roles and Setting Goals

January 2015 - Laparoscopic Surgery in Veterinary Medicine

December 2014 - Obesity in Dogs

December 2014 - Dental Do's & Dont's for the Holidays

November 2014 - Correcting Your Cat's Litterbox Habits

November 2014 - PARVO: A Deadly Disease Everyone Needs to Know About

October 2014 - Old Age is Not a Disease

October 2014 - Osteoarthritis

September 2014 - Reparing CCL Tears with Tibial Tuberosity Advancement
September 2014 - Feline Asthma
August 2014 - Ticks! You, Your Pet and Ticks - What You Need to Know
August 2014 - Rabbit Nutrition
July 2014 - Nutrition Basics: What Does a Pet Food Label Mean?
July 2014 - Pet Insurance Myths Debunked!
June 2014 Summertime. . .let's help make the living easy
June 2014 - Investigating Wet Floors
May 2014 - Is It 'Just" Old Age?
May 2014 - Benefits of "At Home" Veterinary Care
April 2014 - The Newest Techniques for Managing Musculoskeletal Diseases

April 2014 - Why Does My Dog or Cat Lick, Chew, Scratch or Pull Hair Out???

March 2014 - Have fun outside. . .the safe way

March 2014 - The Value of Loving Your Pet Through Preventative Care

February 2014 - Laser Therapy for Your Pet
February 2014 - Management of Aging Companion Animals

January 2014 - Evaluating Your Pet's Quality of Life: How will I know it's the right time to say goodbye?

December 2013 - Diarrhea in Cats Needs Early Treatment

November 2013 - Heartworm Disease:  Prevention is the Key!

October 2013 - Planning for a New Puppy

September 2013 - Hypertension in Cats

August 2013 - Your Aging Pet and the Importance of Geriatric Screening

July 2013 - Hot Topics Discussed By Pet Owners in the Veterinary ER

June 2013 - Leptospirosis

May 2013 - Heat Stroke in Dogs

April 2013 - Keeping Pets Healthy AND Saving Money

March 2013 - Caring for Nontraditional Pets

February 2013 - Ultrasound and Its Use in Veterinary Medicine

January 2013 - Feline Dental Health

December 2012 - Animal Hospice

November 2012 - Relieving Feline Stress

October 2012 - What are Some Common Products That can Poison Your Dog or Cat?

September 2012 - Attack of the FLEAS!!!

August 2012 - Chronic Kidney Disease

June 2012 - How Important is Good Dental Health?

May 2012 - Wildlife in Trouble

April 2012 - Why All the Fuss About Bloodwork?

March 2012 - Itchy Pets - Diagnosing & Treating

February 2012 - Food Allergies in Dogs & Cats

January 2012 - Adult Stem Cell & PRP Therapy - the Newest Treatments for Arthritis

December 2011 - Holiday Hazards & Travel Tips

November 2011 - Feline Arthritis Pain

October 2011 - Feline Obesity

September 2011 - What is the Proper Vaccination Protocol for My Pet?

August 2011 - Fleas & Ticks

July 2011 - Pet Insurance

June 2011 - Caring for Exotic Pets

May 2011 - Animal Chiropractic Care

April 2011 - Veterinary Acupuncture

March 2011 - Seizures in Dogs

February 2011 - February is National Pet Dental Month

January 2011 - What Should I Watch for as My Cat Gets Older?

December 2010 - Diabetes in Cats

November 2010 - Canine Influenza

October 2010 - Bringing Home a New Cat

September 2010 - Your questions answered by Dr. Brooke Schwabenton, DVM

August 2010 - Caring for your pet's teeth