Agility for Dogs

By: Casey Carlson, Veterinary Technician at ZimmVet

One of the best ways to bond and interact with your pup is through agility!

The two of you will work as a team in agility, starting with trust, patience, and reward.

Start out with the mindset of this being fun, relaxed, and simple ‘asks’ of your dog.

First, you will want to start with a six-foot lead and preferably a harness that has a grab handle on top. The harness should fit snugly, without having too much ability to slip on any part of your dog’s body.

Next, you’ll want to have high-value treats on hand that can be given as a very small amount. A high-value treat would be food that your dog just cannot resist! An example might be hot dog bits or dried liver pieces (always make sure they are in small amounts and dog-friendly).

Last, and most importantly, make sure your surroundings and the items to be used are safe and secure. Having a safe environment makes learning and training much less stressful for your dog and injury less likely. The best area to practice in should be a fenced in or enclosed area; this will be perfect when you attempt off-leash commands for the first time!

Equipment for your course:

A pause table that can be a 6×6 foot wooden box with a height no more than one foot. Depending on the size of your dog, you may need this to be shorter. A seat cushion or pillow can be substituted to start out!

Poles or pool noodles will make great cavaletti equipment when placed on the ground. Always make sure the item can ‘break-away’ easily – meaning that it is not fixed and will not have potential to injure your pup.

Note: Starting out, it’s best to use the length of your dog’s body to help you decide the spacing between objects your dog will be walking, jumping, or running over.

Now that you have everything set up, you’ll need to guide your pup through the course. Those high-value treats are going to come in handy at this point.

Start at your pause table/object with your pup in a calm sitting position. Give a couple of rewards for your dog maintaining their position while staying engaged with you (eye contact, treat focus).

Next, guide your pup using your arm held out (like an airplane wing!) as you walk past each pool noodle. If your pup is still engaging with you, they will attempt to walk over the obstacles as you guide them. If they seem to be distracted or losing direction, try throwing a treat over the obstacle as you go past. Get excited and praise them when they come back to focus!

After repeating the task enough times, your dog should be more aware of the obstacles and what you’re asking them to do!

Agility should always be fun for you both; never force your dog to do tasks. Help them build confidence with praise and reward instead. You will get there with patience and time.

You’ve established the most important tool in agility – attention and team work!

If you are interested in taking your pup to the next level, here are just a few DIY ideas and more information at USDAA’s website.

Agility Course DIY:

http://www.gonetothesnowdogs.com/diy-agility-jumps/

Living with a Senior Pet

Living with a Senior Pet

By: Wanda Becker, Certified Veterinary Technician at ZimmVet

Senior years begin in most pets and breeds at 7 years of age. Here are some tips for senior dogs from my person experience managing my senior dog, Lucy.

Lucy and I use to take long walks, with her running down streets, having fun walking and running down groomed paths and long tall grassy areas. Then gradually she started to slow down. I started Lucy on a joint supplement, Dasuquin. The Dasuquin helped, and we were starting to take our usual walks again.

As Lucy aged more, I recognized that she was having more mobility issues. Her back end was showing some muscle atrophy, knees and hips were getting a little weak. We started taking shorter walks and fewer running activities.

As Lucy’s mobility declined, she was started on an oral pet pain medication. With this medication she could go on longer walks and frolic in the tall grass. Arthritis can slow your pet down but you don’t want to stop activity level. Moving is still good for everyone, and keeping the joints mobile.

Other things that helped Lucy were an orthopedic bed. Placed several comfy beds around the house so she wouldn’t have to walk so far to find a place to rest. Lucy loved to curl up in her different beds and watch what going on. I also kept her mind busy, by using a busy feeding ball. To help her move around better without slipping I started placing rugs all over the house and floors. I placed her food dishes up off the floor so it

made it easier for her to eat or swallow food. To help with body temperature I placing a coat on her during her walks when the weather started to get colder. When snowy weather was here, I would place booties on her feet, and at first, she didn’t like them but as time went on, she didn’t want to go outside without her booties.

So, as your pet enters into their senior years and you notice those gray hairs, just keep in mind there will be changes. Keeping up on your pets’ exams and blood work. Giving supplements and pain medications to keep them in less pain and keep moving. Keeping your senior pet comfortable just like you do when an elderly family member enters into their senior years. Enjoy and love every moment with your senior pet. Time goes by fast.

Introducing a New Puppy

By: Casey Carlson, Veterinary Technician at ZimmVet

Are you considering a new puppy to your family? Do you have an older dog that you aren’t sure will accept a new puppy should you bring one home? These are just a couple of questions pet owners should consider before adding furry family members to their home. One problem that seems quite common, are mismatched energy levels among resident dogs with a much younger dog or puppy. Young dogs and puppies are still learning what older dogs might already know; appropriate behavior and boundaries.

What are boundaries and appropriate behavior in your dog’s world? If you observe your pet when they meet a new dog, you might have a good idea of how a new puppy would influence your dog’s behavior. For example; your dog engages in play for short bursts of time with rest in between, but the puppy will want to continue engaging with or rough playing during the older dog’s rest periods. This is considered inappropriate behavior because the puppy is not giving your older dog their time to rest on their terms. The older dog will begin to show signs of stress if their warnings to the puppy go unnoticed. They will show this by physical signs – pinned back ears, panting, unable to relax to lay down, or other warning signs that they are becoming overwhelmed. The puppy still doesn’t respond correctly, so they may continue being in the other dog’s personal space which is when serious harm could happen. It may start with a low growl or curl of the lips from the older dog, which the puppy could mistakenly interpret as part of wanting to play. If a puppy is still allowed to ignore these signs to stop, the older dog will sooner or later be given no other choice and become aggressive to protect themselves and their space.Given this is just an example of how aggression can escalate, the difference in play style should also be taken into consideration when looking to add a new puppy.Does the resident dog have high-energy or prefer naps and cuddles? Are you looking for a breed of puppy that could grow larger than your current pet? Does your current dog become intimidated with other pets in their home?

As overwhelming as this may seem, there are methods to create a healthy balance in your home should you decide to move forward with a new puppy.Using the example above, use the mind-set that you are your dog’s advocate. You can be their ‘referee’ when they are showing signs of stress or frustration. Here are just a few tips to help avoid confrontation or aggression between your dog and a new puppy.

  • Always supervise your pets when they are becoming acquainted. Never let them roam the house or yard unattended.
  • Give your dog and the new puppy ample time to slowly get to know one another. Avoid having their first meeting in a small and enclosed space and have both pets leashed or a barrier to keep from front-faced meetings.
  • Rotate your new puppy and resident dog through areas they have frequented. This will allow your dog to smell and become comfortable with the new puppy before meeting them face-to-face.
  • Interrupt inappropriate play or behaviors. If the puppy is not respecting your dog’s need for a break, you must provide it for them by separating them for a brief period until the new puppy learns these cues.
  • Interrupt repeated or concerning behaviors, such as rough play that could injure the puppy or energy escalation.

Being conscious of your current dog’s behaviors and needs will help you safely choose and integrate a new puppy into your home. Asking yourself the questions above will help narrow the risk of aggression and keep your pets safety and healthy behaviors intact.

For more information on adding a new puppy to your pack, visiting with a trainer or having an in-home consultation could be beneficial to ensuring your dog’s best interest is kept in mind during the process of adding your new furry family member. Below are additional resources to help determine symptoms of canine stress and escalation, as well as tips and tricks to safely having your dog and puppy meet for the first time.

Resources:

Socializing your new puppy

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/socialization-dogs-and-cats

Reading canine body language

https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/how-read-dog-body-language

More on reading and understanding canine body language

Understanding signs of aggression and avoiding harmful situations

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/dog-bite-prevention

Behavioral Options For Your Pets

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

Anxiety in Pets

Pets can exhibit a variant of different behavioral conditions. Fear is an adverse emotional state in reaction to a perceived threat or danger. Phobia is a sudden profound or excessive fear response. Anxiety is a diffuse generalized unease. It can be situational or generalized on a daily basis by multiple stimuli.

These behavioral conditions can be the result of a negative experience or could be from a lack of exposure (new situation). Many pets especially those that show anxiety on a regular basis have a genetic component and the brain chemical balance is altered. Anxiety disorders are common and affect about 23 million pets in the US.

Signs

Pets can show a variety of signs of fear including: increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate (panting), sweating, trembling, pacing, urination, defecation and/or anal sac secretion. Behaviorally, a pet will exhibit changes in body language or activity when afraid. Which may include avoiding eye contact, looking away, turning away, licking the lips, yawning, scratching, wet dog shaking, or freezing. More obvious changes in body language may include lowering of the head and body, pinning the ears back closer to the head, widening the eyes, and tucking the tail under the body. The pet may engage in active avoidance responses, such as fleeing or hiding or could show aggressive behaviors.

Anxiety is manifested with similar physiological signs of fear, but they occur with the anticipation of a fear inducing event. Anxiety may manifest in pets through excessive vocalization, destructive or escape behavior, inappropriate elimination (urination, defection, or urine marking), compulsive, stereotypic, or repetitive behaviors like excessive grooming, and panting, pacing, or drooling.

Treatment

If your pet is having problems with fear, phobia or anxiety the first step would be to have them examined by your veterinarian and include some basic laboratory tests such as a chemistry, complete blood count, urinalysis and tick testing to make sure there is no medical reason for their behavior.

Part of the recommended therapy may be to work with a trainer. There are dog trainers that will work with pets with behavioral problem. There are also veterinary behaviorists that have went additional school and just work with pets that have behavioral problems.

Supplement Options

The goal of medications or supplements is to decrease the level of anxiety for the pet and to make their life better. The anxiety will likely not be eliminated and the pet will require continued management.

  1. Solliquin- This is a daily chew that contains a combination of natural ingredients that help normalize brain activity. Read more at solliquin.com
  2. Calm- This is a daily powder that is a naturally occurring bacteria that helps calm pets.
  3. Adaptil (dogs) Feliway (cats)- This is a natural pheromone. It comes in a collar, spray or diffuser. It helps mimic the mother’s natural hormones to calm pets. Adaptil.com
  4. Thundershirt- This is a tight-fitting body wrap that applies gentle pressure causing the release of natural calming hormones in the pet’s body. It can be worn as needed or on a daily basis.

There are other natural supplements on the market. Talk to you veterinarian for recommendations. Most natural supplements you need to give at least 4-6 weeks to determine their full effect.

Medication Options

Some pets will only need medications as needed before an event. Some common examples would be for storm or firework phobias.

  1. Trazodone-This tablet medication is the most commonly used as-needed anxiety medication for dogs.. It is an oral tablet and  takes about 2-3 hours to effect, so may not be quick enough for storms. It can be given daily or in combination with other behavioral medications. There is a wide range of dosing. Work together with your veterinarian to find the right dose for your pet.
  2. Gabapentin is the most commonly used situational anxiety medication for cats.
  3. Sileo-This is an oral gel that absorbs into the gums. It is quick acting and can take effect within 30 minutes. It can be redosed during an event up to 5 times. It is most commonly used for thunderstorms or other sudden noises.

Many pets that have general anxiety and have multiple stimulus that triggers them throughout the day benefit from daily medication. It can take 4-8 weeks for medications to have full effect. Some medications doses need to be adjusted. It is important to work closely with your veterinarian when trying to find a medication or medication combination that will best manage your pet’s anxiety.

Most commonly used daily medications: Fluoxetine, Clomipramine, Amitriptyline, Alprazolam.

Other medication options: Gabapentin, Paroxetine, Sertraline, Clonazepam, Clorazepate, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Oxazepam, Clonidine, Doxepin

Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

New ticks bring new diseases and more reasons to be careful with pets

By: Dani Gunder, Veterinary Technician at ZimmVet

Our weather patterns have been changing along with our pet population and where they are coming from. Together both have contributed to the migration and. Introduction of new ticks to be aware of in Minnesota; the gulf and American dog tick.

We already know dogs are at risk for many widespread tick bourne diseases so we annually check for 3 (Lyme, ehrlichia, anaplasmosis) but there are diseases, new to our area, to be aware of from ticks that are normally native to southern or western states and seen in much lower incidence here. Now that is all changing.

These ticks have the potential to spread diseases in Mn such as: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis. The ticks and their younger, nymph phase are so small it can be very easy to miss one biting and being attached to your canine pal. It takes only about 5hrs for a tick to be attached long enough to spread disease. The diseases can have drastic neurological impact, along with changing their appetite, and causing pain. At the worst and if left untreated symptoms can be fatal.

Because of these and all the other chances of disease ticks can share with our canine friends we at ZimmVet recommend year round flea/tick and heartworm prevention in all dogs in MN for best protection.

Parasites, Dogs & Cats and Kids

By: Kristin Rinkel, CVT at ZimmVet

Hookworms and roundworms can be harbored by your dog or cat and transmitted to children who are living in homes with pets.  In some cases, these parasites can cause blindness in humans.  It is thought that 30 – 50 percent of dogs and cats carry gastrointestinal (GI) parasites and that 1 to 3 million people in the U.S. have infections from the same parasites carried by pets.  Children, the elderly and immunocompromised people are at high risk.

Know the facts:  Don’t expose your children!

  • Dogs get infected with hookworms and roundworms by walking places where other dogs have defecated.  The microscopic roundworm eggs and hookworm larvae end up on your dog’s feet.  Your dog then licks his feet and infects him or herself with these GI parasites.  Three weeks later, your dog is shedding hookworm eggs and larvae from his GI tract.  If your dog licks his anus and then licks your child, or if your child pets your dog, he or she can become infected with these parasites.
  • Dogs can get ticks that spread Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia, which can affect people if the ticks detach from the dog and attach themselves to your child.  This could be a risk factor for your children if the family dog or cat sleeps in their bed.
  • Cats get infected with hookworms and tapeworms by hunting prey.  Even if your cat lives indoors, the ingestion of one house mouse can expose your cat to GI parasites.  Cats with a flea infestation can spread cat scratch fever to children, elderly people, or immunocompromised (AIDS, cancer patients, organ transplant recipients) people.

How Can You Prevent The Risk Of Spreading Parasites To Your Children?

  • Keep your dog on monthly heartworm preventative all year.  This medication helps to prevent hookworms and roundworms in your dog.  Keep your dog on topical flea and tick control all year.
  • Scoop the yard where your dog defecates at least weekly, ideally daily, as worm eggs and larvae are found in stool and can contaminate the environment.
  • Bring your pet’s stool sample to your veterinarian at least twice per year and ideally four times per year.  You do not have to bring your pet into the veterinary hospital for this service.  The stool should be fresh.  Many veterinarians will provide a special cup that allows specimen collection without touching the stool.
  • Keep your cat on heartworm prevention once per month all year.  This medication eliminates hookworms that could be potentially spread to humans in the household.  It also kills fleas, which can be culprits in spreading cat scratch disease (cat scratch fever).
  • Teach your children to wash their hands before eating, especially if they have recently handled their pet.

Canine Preventative Overview

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

Canine Preventative Product Overview

Veterinary medical technology continues to take leaps and bounds to provide safe and effective products for pets. There are two main categories of preventative products to help keep your pet parasite-free and healthy, which include flea and tick as well as heartworm.  Consulting with your veterinarian is the first step to making sure you are picking the right preventative product for your pet.  

Flea & Tick Prevention

Flea and tick control for your pet is critical in Minnesota because of our high rate of tick-borne diseases such and lyme disease and anaplasmosis. Not only can these diseases cause severe joint pain, but they can also cause irreversible damage to the kidneys and severe bleeding problems. Fleas can cause severe itching, which can also lead to other parasite and blood problems. Once in your house, it can take up to three months to get rid of fleas.

Oral:  Flea and tick products administered orally have been available for years and have proven to be very effective and safe. These products range from one-month products to three-month products such as Bravecto. These products also have the advantage of killing skin mites.

Topicals:  There are many topical products on the market and range from older harsh chemicals with lower effectiveness to safer more effective products. Generic products, such as many of the products available at big box and pet stores, are not as effect as the name brand products available from your veterinarian. One safe and effective product on the market for years is Frontline. There are now various versions such as Frontline Plus with faster kill rates and other benefits. Frontline works by spreading on the oils on the skin and does not go into the body. Frontline is waterproof.

Collars: Flea and tick collars have been a low-cost option on the market a long time. With this product, it is important to follow the label directions on how tight the collar is to make sure it is working. Collars are typically not waterproof. This means if your pet has a bath or swims they may not be protected for days after. Depending on the ingredients some can be irritating, and they can cause local skin reactions. Dog collars containing permethrin are toxic to cats. A newer collar that is safer is the Seresto collar. At ZimmVet, we do not recommend collars as a first line product.

Heartworm Prevention and Dewormers

Monthly heartworm prevention has been the mainstay of preventing this severe disease. These products also come with the benefit of deworming for common intestinal parasites, which are a year-round problem. All heartworm preventative products are prescription items and can only be purchased with a prescription from your veterinarian. If you are buying a product without a prescription, it is likely counterfeit or not a heartworm prevention medication. Oral products are very safe and have been on the market for a long time. Common products are Interceptor and Heartgard. These are given monthly.

Combination Products for Flea, Tick and Heartworm

Combination products are now available to prevent heartworm as well as flea and tick protection in one convenient monthly dosing.  Just like with most heartworm medications, these products are also a general dewormer.

Oral: Simparica Trio is an example of an all-in-one monthly oral chewable product. This provides great convenience for owners to only have to give one product. This product is a cost savings for bigger breeds as it goes up to 132 lbs. without having to buy additional size categories. This product has been gaining in popularity since gaining FDA approval in 2020. It has combined product technologies which have already been on the market for years.

Topical: Revolution is an example of an all-in-one monthly topical product. Revolution only has a label for killing the dog tick, while other common flea and tick products have labeling for 4-5 different tick types.

Fleas, ticks and heartworm disease are all very preventable pet illnesses with several options on the market to provide you with the best options for you and your pet.   Your veterinarian will recommend the best products for your pet and have cost saving coupons and manufacture rebates not available elsewhere.

Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

Canine Vaccine Overview

By Dr. Maria Krenz, DVM – ZimmVet-763-856-4848

Canine Vaccine Overview

Vaccines are an important part of keeping our furry friends healthy. In some cases, vaccines can even prevent people from contracting diseases from their pet. Pet owners should rely on their veterinary team to tell them what is best to protect your pet.  Here is overview of some of the most common vaccines.

Core Vaccination – All dogs should receive these vaccines.

Rabies is a virus and is transmitted in saliva through a bite or cut. Dogs commonly contract rabies from wildlife such as bats, raccoons and fox. Rabies is deadly to the pet once contracted and can be spread to people. About 500 pets each year contract rabies in the United States. This rate is low due to vaccination. Worldwide about 59,000 people die from rabies every year. Rabies vaccination is given once as a puppy and every three years as an adult. Rabies vaccination is required by law. Read more about rabies at: https://www.avma.org/resources/public-health/rabies-and-your-pet

Distemper vaccination is a combination vaccination consisting of distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. These diseases can cause severe illness and death. These diseases are contracted by contacting another dog or wild animal (fox, coyote) with the disease. This vaccination is given as a series to puppies usually at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. It is given every three years to adult dogs. Read more about distemper virus at: https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/canine-distemper.

Risk-Based Vaccinations – Given to dogs, based on their lifestyle.

All risk-based vaccinations are an initial vaccine, followed by a booster vaccination 3-4 weeks later. They are given yearly once the initial booster series is completed.

Vaccinations for respiratory diseases are given when a dog will be around other dogs outside your household. Common scenarios are dogs that go to a pet groomer, training class, dog daycare, boarding facility, dog parks, visiting friends’ dogs, or are active around other dogs in your neighborhood. If you have one dog that is at higher risk, all the dogs in your household should receive respiratory vaccinations. The two vaccinations are bordetella and influenza. These are very contagious diseases spread in respiratory secretions and can cause serious illness. It is important to do both vaccinations to get the best coverage for the common respiratory diseases for your pet. Read more about canine flu on the AVMA and CDC websites along with: https://www.dogflu.com/

Certain vaccinations are given to protect your pet if they have an outdoor lifestyle. The Zimmerman area has a very high rate of lyme disease and leptospirosis because of great outdoor natural resources. Both diseases can cause serious symptoms, including kidney failure and death.  Dogs contract lyme disease from ticks. Using tick prevention products is not enough to protect your pet against lyme disease. 

Leptospirosis is shed in the urine of animals, especially wild animals, but also other dogs. Common areas of risk are any areas where wildlife frequent. Leptospirosis is also common in city areas with rats being the main culprit. In the past, leptospirosis was thought to only be spread through water, but this has been proven to no longer be the case. Leptospirosis vaccination is also very important because this disease can be spread to people.

Vaccine technology is safe for pets

Some people may be concerned about vaccination reactions. The good news is that vaccines have gotten safer and cause a very low rate of side effects. The most common side effect of vaccinations, like people, is injection site soreness. This is prevented by having your veterinarian prescribe pain medication the day of vaccination and the day after.

Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.

House Plants and Pets

By: Mysi Szczech, ZimmVet Assistant

There are many options that are safe for your pets as well so you can all live happily!  Safe plants not only provide an aesthetic appeal to your home but they also have benefits such as regulating humidity levels in the home and minimize dust content.

Common houseplants that are TOXIC to pets are lilies, aloe vera, ivy, jade, dumb cane (dieffenbachia), elephant ear, pothos (devils ivy), ZZ plant, asparagus fern, cyclamen, azaleas, tulips, kalachoe, hyacinth, sago palm, etc.

Common houseplants that are SAFE to be around pets are baby tears, spider plant (cats love this plant!), calathea, fern, Christmas cactus (or any cactus, little pokey but safe), haworthia, friendship plant, parlor palm, burro’s tail, etc.

If you suspect that you pet has been in contact with a toxic plant they may have oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing.  You should also contact your local veterinarian or call the ASPC animal poison control at (888) 426-4435.

Always remember to look up information on a plant if you plan on adding it to your home to know how to care for it and where to keep it to keep our fur babies safe! 

Pet Insurance

By Dr. Maria Krenz Owner and Veterinarian at ZimmVet

What is Pet Insurance and How does it Work?

Pet insurance is becoming commonplace.  The purchase of pet insurance has been growing about 20% each year.  2021 has been a record year for pet insurance enrollment. Having pet insurance allows pet owners to provide the needed care for their furry friends, especially during times of unexpected illness or accidents. There are 20 major pet insurance companies in the United States. In this article, we will discuss the difference between insurance plans and items to be aware of.

Reimbursement plans

All pet insurance companies either use a percentage of the invoice or a benefit schedule to calculate reimbursement.

With pet insurance, the pet owner pays the veterinary clinic at the time of service. The pet owner then submits receipts and needed paperwork to the pet insurance company. The pet owner then is reimbursed from the insurance company.

  1. Percentage of the Invoice: The insurance company covers a percentage of the total bill. This is usually after a deductible is met. Some companies have a set percentage while others let you pick from a couple percentages (70%, 80%, 90%) based on your budget.

Example: You met your deductible, and your plan reimburses 80% for illnesses. Your pet has an ear infection, and your total bill is $250. You are reimbursed $200 from the insurance company.

Pets Best petsbest.com is an example of an insurance company that is a percentage of the invoice.

  • Benefit Schedule: Reimbursement is capped at a set amount for each condition per year.

Example: Your pet has an ear infection, and your total bill is $250. Your insurance company allows up to $400 per year for skin/ear infections. You would get $250 reimbursed. If your pet has another ear infection that year you would be reimbursed $150 since the maximum per year is $400 total.

Nationwide petinsurance.com is a common insurance with a benefit schedule

Types of Coverage

There are different coverage options and different insurance companies have different terminology. It is important to read the details of what they include. Here are some common examples:

  1. Accident: This is usually a low-cost option that covers unforeseen accidents such as broken legs and trauma.
  2. Illness: This covers sickness such as ear infections, skin infections, urinary tract infections. It may not cover hereditary conditions or joint conditions such as hip dysplasia or a torn cruciate.
  3. Wellness: This covers wellness items such as exams, routine lab tests, vaccinations, heartworm, routine surgeries, and dental cleanings as well as flea and tick medication. It is usually something you can add on to a medical plan.
  4. Whole Pet: Many companies have combination plans that cover both Accident & Illness and may have options to cover hereditary or joint conditions. Often high-expense care such as cancer care may also be an added cost.

Items to be aware of

It is always best to get pet insurance as soon as possible, ideally as a puppy. Insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions. There may be a waiting period where conditions are not yet covered. An example of a condition that commonly has a waiting period of 6-12 months is a torn cruciate ligament. Some insurance companies will not cover a pet over a certain age, but others will cover any age pet. Some insurance companies have a deductible, in some cases you can choose the deductible amount based on your budget (example $500, $1000). It is very important that you read all the stipulations, so you are clear what is and what is not covered in your plan, deductibles, and reimbursement schedules.

Disclaimer:  This written content is meant to be educational and is not medical advice.  Always consult a veterinarian about medical advice for your pet.