1-800-PET-INSURANCE’s Blog

1-800-PET-INSURANCE’s Blog

Eczema in Dogs

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Apr 19th 2012 @ 4:46PM Filed under: Dog Health

Skin problems are very common in dogs and many will experience at least one in their lifetime. The condition of a dog’s skin and coat is usually a good indicator of its overall physical heath as the condition of both will falter when suffering from an illness.

Eczema in DogsThere are numerous skin conditions that can affect dogs though one of the more common problems is caused by eczema, which is a superficial inflammation of the outer layers of the skin. It is caused by an abnormal response by the dog’s immune system. The signs that your dog is suffering with eczema are relatively clear; what is not clear however, is what is specifically causing the irritation. The most notable sign that your dog is suffering from eczema is a red and itchy scalp and constant itching; dry and scaly skin is another frequent occurrence caused by eczema.

Common causes of eczema in dogs include irritants such as: detergent, paint, bleach, skin care and products which contain alcohol. It can also be caused by parasite or insect bites or poor nutrition. Eczema is often seasonal and is therefore most likely to occur in warm or particularly dry weather.  High levels of stress are also often linked with the emergence of eczema.

Further eczema symptoms include:

  • Hair Loss
  • Pain
  • Pustules
  • Oozing
  • Moist coat

The effects of eczema in dogs…

Are made worse by the dog’s actions; as their skin becomes increasingly itchy and the dog becomes more and more irritable, it will scratch continuously at the affected areas, thus making the condition of the skin worse. This often leads to further problems such as scaling of the skin and weeping of sores.

The best mode of treatment is removing from your dog’s environment whatever it is that is causing the problem; as previously mentioned, this can be difficult, therefore a process of elimination is often required. Once the source of the irritation has been discovered, there are several simple treatments available to reduce the effect and cure eczema; there are a number ointments and anti-inflammatory medications that can be prescribed to reduce the symptoms caused by Eczema, it is important to sooth the irritated areas of the skin so as to reduce itching and therefore further damage. Applying Neem oil to the skin after bathing has been proven to decrease itching thus stopping your dog from scratching and harming the already sensitive area.

It is a good idea to avoid commercial dog foods as these contain certain ingredients that can affect a dog’s health. Opt for natural and organic products to maintain and even increase the dog’s health and immune system; organic products can be found at any reputable dog store. In the majority of cases Eczema will be treated successfully and quickly disappear giving your dog comfortable relief. It is important however to keep an eye on the issue as it can return, especially if the substance causing the irritation is not permanently removed from the dog’s atmosphere.

Heartworm in Dogs

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Mar 19th 2012 @ 4:28PM Filed under: Dog Health

Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through mosquitoes. It is often hard to eliminate and can be fatal, and is more common in dogs than any other animal. The highest infection rates are found in coastal areas as mosquitoes generally live and breed near water.

Heartworm in dogs is a slow moving disease and may therefore be present for a number of months after initial infection without showing any symptoms.

Symptoms of heartworm include:

  • Lethargy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss

Difficulty in Treating Dogs With Heartworm

Heartworm in DogsOnce your dog has heartworm it can be difficult to treat, therefore prevention is the most important action to consider.  Nutrition, exercise and low levels of stress are vital to a dog’s healthy living, in order to keep the immune system strong and prevent infection or infestation. Your dog should be tested for heartworm annually so as to catch it early should it appear; this can be done by conducting a simple blood test. Yearlong treatment is often recommended for peace of mind and there are regular medications available to minimize the risk of heartworm. These will often be cheaper than the cost of treating your dog once heartworm is already present. As with any disease, if heartworm is caught early then it will be considerably easier to treat. Heartworm is classified in levels from one to four, and is clearly much easier to treat in its early stages.

In order to diagnosis heartworm, the following steps must be taken. These are:

  • Antigen test – A blood test is carried out for antigens secreted by female worms. False-negative results often occur and frequent tests should therefore be conducted.  If tested positive then an x-ray will be suggested.
  • X-ray – An x-ray will be conducted in order to establish the condition of the heart and the amount of lung damage caused by the heartworm.

Treatment for Heartworm in Dogs

The initial treatment for a dog with heartworm is medication in two stages which will be provided after a vet’s diagnosis: the first medication is for killing the adult worms and then the second is for killing the offspring in order to prevent any re-emergence. Before treatment can be conducted the dog must be tested for general health issues, including tests to examine its heart, liver and kidney function, in order to make sure these vital organs are in good condition.

Heartworm treatment may not be covered by your insurance unless it is one of the better policies as both prevention treatment and treatment once heartworm has been detected is a lengthy process and will cost the insurance providers a great deal of money.

Initial treatment is relatively cheap however recovery from heartworm is a lengthy process. The rest and care necessary once cured can be costly and time-consuming. Surgery is a possibility with removing the heartworms but is considered dangerous. Post-treatment rest is pivotal in allowing your animal to regain strength; exercise should therefore be limited for several weeks or so after in order to allow you dog ample time to recover.

Allergies in Dogs

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Mar 5th 2012 @ 10:21PM Filed under: Dog Health

Dog Allergies

There are many animals, much like the average human, that are allergic to certain things that are common, both in the atmosphere and in the diet of the average canine. Dogs begin to show symptoms when their immune system has been compromised by a certain substance. All dogs are at risk for allergies though they appear to be more prevalent in certain breeds; for example, terriers, retrievers and bulldogs.

Symptoms Your Dog May Experience With Allergies

It is important first of all to acknowledge the symptoms of an allergic reaction, as, if these symptoms are not treated immediately then there may develop a more serious problem. The most common symptoms are:

  • Redness
  • Itching/Scratching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing

Dog Allergies Are Natural

As you will notice, many of these occurrences are natural for a dog and may occur many times throughout a dog’s life without there being any immediate health issue. However, it is important to be safe and have your animal checked.  So goes the old adage: better safe than sorry. If you think your dog is having an allergic reaction then take them to the vet, who will then proceed to take the dogs history and perform a physical examination in order to discover whether or not your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction.

At this point you may be asking yourself; ‘so what are dogs most commonly allergic to, and how can I prevent my animal from suffering an allergic reaction?’ Well, firstly it is rare that one can know beforehand what a dog will be allergic to, especially in regards to food. The greatest way to discover what is affecting your dog is by process of elimination. By removing certain things from your animal’s diet, you will be able to discover what it is that is causing the symptoms , as they should begin to reduce and slowly disappear. In order to do this a vet will place your dog on a prescription diet for approximately 12 weeks, thus hopefully concluding the issue.

If symptoms occur with your dog and he/she enjoys a beef, chicken or dairy diet, then these will be the first things you will want to remove to see if the symptoms disappear, as these foods often produce allergic reactions.

Another issue is Fleas; many dogs are allergic to fleas and infestations can be quite common – and are evident by continuous scratching. Rather than being a serious health issue, fleas are more of a nuisance, though this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t deal with them immediately, as they can cause your dog problems as well as considerable discomfort. Additionally they can spread to humans as well, so it is in the best interest of the owner as well as the animal that the fleas are eliminated.

The immediate environment of the dog, most often its owner’s household, should be kept clean and cleaning products should be kept in cupboards as contact may cause a reaction. Common everyday items dogs are allergic to are:

  • Dust
  • Fleas
  • Certain shampoos,
  • Cleaning products,
  • Mold spores,
  • Perfumes

By doing this you can provide a clean and safe environment for your dog with little chance of troubling it with allergies.

Financial Protection If Your Dog Suffers From Cataracts

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Feb 9th 2011 @ 10:27PM Filed under: Pet Insurance

If your dog suffers from cataracts and needs an operation, your pet insurance should be able to protect you financially against costs incurred. This condition is extremely common amongst diabetic dogs: studies have shown that approximately 80% of dogs with diabetes develop cataracts within 16 months of diagnosis.

Even if your dog isn’t diabetic at the moment, it is worth checking your pet insurance plan and doing a comparison between different policies. The cheapest pet insurance doesn’t always offer the most extensive cover, so if your pet develops health problems you could be left footing the bill.

Cataracts are a medical condition where the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque. Cataracts can present themselves as white or clouded areas within your dog’s eyes. Your pet won’t be able to see through the affected area so if the cataract becomes sufficiently large, a dog can become completely blind in that eye.

Whilst cataracts themselves rarely cause discomfort, they can lead to other more painful ocular diseases such as Lens-Induced Uveitis (LIU) and glaucoma. Once these secondary diseases have become established, cataract surgery may no longer be possible. So as soon as you notice a cataract forming, consult your vet.

Cataracts can develop so quickly that you may even notice one developing within a couple of days. If this is the case, it is worth contacting your vet immediately. Cataract surgery tends to be same day surgery with no need for an overnight hospital stay. It can be reassuring to know that your pet will be recovering in a familiar environment.

Cataract surgery should be able to restore your dog’s vision, but if surgery is not possible don’t despair. As dogs are able to smell and hear far better than humans, losing their sight does not affect them as dramatically as you may fear. Dogs are often able to adjust to vision loss quite quickly, allowing their other senses to compensate. So long as there is no pain or discomfort in their eyes, dogs with cataracts can live long, happy lives.

However, if your pet’s ocular condition is causing them pain, your vet should be able to recommend an appropriate course of action. Whether this involves surgery, medication or even complimentary therapy, reputable pet insurance should be able to protect you financially from the costs.

Whatever course of action you take, good advice is essential. Consult your vet as soon as you suspect a problem to ensure your pet stays in good health.

About the Author:

John Lewis Insurance offers a range of insurance services selected by the John Lewis Partnership. These include home, car, life, travel, wedding, event and pet insurance (http://www.johnlewis-insurance.com/homepage/pet-insurance.html) products.

Taking Advantage of your Insurance Benefits

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Jan 18th 2011 @ 7:27PM Filed under: Pet Insurance

Today, there are many insurance policies that cover medical care on an annual basis. Seeking the right health benefits allows your pet the chance to live a longer and healthier life. Whether your pet suffers from renal disease or diabetes, special nutritional therapeutic diets are needed to maintain your pet’s optimum health. Bench marking your pet’s heath by recurrent laboratory diagnostics while under treatment is vital and expensive. That is where having your pet insured is a huge benefit.

Do you still not have pet insurance? Be sure to read our reviews and use our pet insurance quote form to receive quotes from multiple providers.

Top 5 Benefits of Having Pet Insurance

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Jan 4th 2011 @ 5:31PM Filed under: Pet Insurance

Top 5 Benefits of Pet Insurance

  1. Pet insurance provides financial peace-of-mind in the event of your pet needing emergency veterinary care and treatment
  2. Pet insurance covers illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and renal disease
  3. In the event your pet is seriously injured, surgical care coverage is provided
  4. Depending on the pet insurance policy, veterinary services such as tooth extractions and advanced dental procedures are covered
  5. The freedom to seek a board-certified specialist for advanced veterinary care is covered

Veterinary Costs Increase By 4.8% In 2010

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Sep 28th 2010 @ 4:12PM Filed under: 1-800-PET-INSURANCE's Blog

With Costs Increasing, Pet Insurance Is More Important Than Ever

According to the 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the Pet Products Association, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 71.4 million homes. In the United States there are 93.6 million cats, and 77.5 million dogs. In 2009 $45.5 billion dollars was spent on our pets and in 2010, it is estimated that pet owners will spend $47.7 billion dollars. Direct veterinary costs of care of our pets is estimated at $12.79 billion for 2010.

Getting pet insurance for your pet is even more important now with this increase in veterinary costs. If you do not have insurance for your pet already or are looking to switch providers, please use our free pet insurance quote form.

Dogs Dressed as Hotdogs! (Video)

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Jul 27th 2010 @ 12:06AM Filed under: 1-800-PET-INSURANCE's Blog

Patriotic Pets! 4th of July Dogs (Video)

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Jul 27th 2010 @ 12:04AM Filed under: 1-800-PET-INSURANCE's Blog

The Sources of Pet Poisoning

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Jul 26th 2010 @ 2:11PM Filed under: 1-800-PET-INSURANCE's Blog

Pet owners often joke about pets being like vacuum cleaners literally eating anything put in front of them. Unfortunately, that lack of dietary discretion too often results in pets ingesting toxic substances, emergency visits to the veterinarian, and large medical bills. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, has analyzed its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to find the sources behind the hundreds of poisoning claims submitted to VPI every month. Following is a ranking of the nearly 20,000 pet poisoning claims VPI received between 2005 and 2009:

Accidental Ingestion of Medications (pet or human drugs)
5,131

Rodenticide (mouse & rat poison)
4,028

Methylxanthine Toxicity (chocolate, caffeine)
3,661

Plant Poisoning
2,808

Household Chemicals
1,669

Metaldehyde (snail, slug poison)
396

Insecticide
323

Heavy Metal Toxicity (lead, zinc)
288

Toad Poisoning
270

Antifreeze Poisoning
213

Walnut Poisoning
100

Alcohol Toxicity
75

Strychnine
28

To find out which pet insurance plan is best for you, visit us today at http://www.1800PetInsurance.com