For good pet health, and financial security pet health insurance makes sense. Veterinarians once skeptical to the value of pet health insurance are now encouraging and recommending that pet owners purchase pet insurance.
January 12, 2010 (Pittsburgh, PA) Pet Health Insurance in the United States and Canada is experiencing extraordinary growth and acceptance among pet owners and the veterinary profession. Though pet health insurance has been offered for over twenty-five years in the United States (and in Canada since 1989) recent double digit growth is due to pet owners wanting to be able to budget and pass off most of the high cost for unexpected accidents and illness. Over one million pets are estimated to now be insured, and according to research firm Packaged Facts double digit growth among the leading providers of pet health insurance is expected to continue.
There are many factors that have increased the life-span and improved health for pets. But one of the overwhelming factors appears to be the desire of today’s pet owner to provide the same level of care they want and expect for themselves. Add this to advanced diagnostics, consistent well-pet or prevention visits to the veterinarian, quality nutrition and our pets now are realizing a longer, healthier and happier life.
Treatments once reserved for humans (or only available at University veterinary schools) are now being available in most metropolitan areas of North America. Access to veterinary specialists for pet care has increased and is growing faster than any other area of the practice of veterinary medicine. Just as with human health care, there are specialist in surgery, opthamology, dermatology, neurology, internal medicine, dentistry and more for our pets.
The following are a few of the thousands of the injuries, illnesses, and diseases that are now commonly treated for cats and dogs. Clearly, the treatments of these illnesses and diseases have become more affordable due in part to the support of pet health insurance:
Some common conditions and illnesses:
- Intervertebral Disc Disease causing paralysis
- Kidney Failure
- Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
- Foreign Body Ingestion
- Cruciate Rupture (ligament tear in knee)
- Heart disease
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Even cuts, sprains and much more
Due to pet owners wanting the best, many in the veterinary profession are recommending that clients be informed of the advantages of pet health insurance. In-fact many veterinarians feel that pet health insurance will become the norm for pet owners wanting to be prepared for unexpected costly care.
According to Christopher J. Allen, DVM, JD, veterinarian, attorney, and practice owner of Endwell Animal Hospital, Endwell, NY, “I am a convert. I have disliked a number or aspects of the insurance industry ever since I was an insurance attorney in New York years ago. While it may appear to be a poor investment in some cases insurance is a vital and indispensible risk-management tool, without which modern business – and health care – would grind to a screeching halt. Today the veterinary profession must include pet health insurance as part of the practice protocol. This is the most effective means to manage and assure optimized overall care. Pet health coverage is no longer just for the unexpected injury, illness or emergency. Each client needs to be informed of the potential benefits of pet health insurance as part of the overall strategy for the long-term, or life-span care of each patient. This not only increases the health of the pet, it certainly provides a healthier veterinary practice as clients and their pets maintain a longer and more rewarding client-veterinary relationship.”
On Long Island, New York, pet health insurance education and awareness is becoming part of client education. Dr. Niesenbaum states “At our veterinary practice, we are now providing training for our staff and our veterinarians about pet health insurance. Understanding the general guidelines and benefits of pet health insurance, will help us promote client awareness and provide impartial, information allowing each pet owner to choose a plan that fits their needs and the needs of their pets. Providing a standard protocol for how we communicate and explain pet health insurance to pet owners, reduces misunderstandings and better manages expectations. We enjoy a special trust and value within our client-patient-veterinary relationship. Our clients want to know if they should purchase pet health insurance and require our qualified guidance.
We now provide some general guidance on options available to help clients financially.
We know that pet health insurance is life-saving for many of the pets we treat. One issue that our practice highlights is making certain our clients include dental coverage when they purchase pet insurance. Dental disease such as stomatitis and periodontal disease are very common today and some companies do not provide coverage. Unfortunately oral health is often neglected until it has a serious negative impact on a pet’s overall health. Adding an insurance or wellness option to cover dental care is very important. Overall, we feel our efforts related to pet health insurance education and awareness translates to a healthier pet for our clients,” according to Dr. Keith Niesenbaum, veterinarian of the Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital, Garden City Park, New York, and Vice President of the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association.
Surveys and research by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Pet Products Association indicates that today most pets are regarded as members of the family. Over 60% of North American households have at least one dog, cat, bird, or other companion animal. Many have more than one. There are more than 75 million pet dogs in the U.S. and Canada and nearly 85 million pet cats. Projected 2009 pet expenditures for North America are over $45 billion, of which $25 billion will be spent on veterinary related care.
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About The North American Pet Health Insurance Association
Founded in 2007, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association is committed to educating and promoting the values and benefits of pet health insurance to North American pet owners, the general public, and the veterinary industry. For more information, visit www.naphia.org or call 412-319-7730 / 412-908-9766.
About Christopher J. Allen, DVM, JD:
Dr. Allen practices veterinary medicine and provides consultations Common Veterinary Medical Law Issues for veterinarians and pet owners at Endwell Animal Hospital, Endwell, NY. You can visit with Dr. Allen at http://www.veterinarylaw.com, or by phone: (607) 754-1510.
About Dr. Keith Niesenbaum and the Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital:
Dr. Niesenbaum is the owner and senior veterinarian of the Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital in Garden City Park, NY. The hospital is a full service companion animal hospital providing a broad spectrum of diagnostic procedures and an in-house diagnostic laboratory. The hospital as an extensive and well-stocked pharmacy, in-hospital surgery suite, dental operatory area, in-house x-ray capabilities, as well as a closely supervised hospitalization area. Additionally, there is an indoor boarding kennels with outdoor walking areas. Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital is focused and designed to optimize routine preventive care for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens; early detection and treatment of disease, and complete medical and surgical care as necessary. You can visit with Dr. Niesenbaum and Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital at http://www.crawforddogandcathospital.com, or by phone: (516) 746-1566.