Dr. Nichole Agarwal Discusses the Most Commonly Claimed Medical Conditions for Cats and Dogs
Pet health insurance (PHI) really does pay. From unexpected accidents to seasonal conditions, PHI enables pet parents to secure the best care possible for their pets instead of basing decisions on economics alone. To tell the story behind PHI and let pet parents know how others are using insurance, NAPHIA has interviewed veterinary practitioners to get their thoughts on the most commonly claimed medical conditions, including tips on preventative care for your pet.
We recently spoke with Dr. Nichole Agarwal from Arrow Dog and Cat Hospital in Montclair, California to continue our stories on the most commonly claimed medical conditions, as claimed in 2014, from NAPHIA’s Industry Insiders’ Report.
Dr. Agarwal is a huge supporter of PHI, especially when it comes to treating ongoing conditions like diabetes or lymphoma, which can be incredibly costly. On top of reducing the financial burden, she also finds that pet parents with PHI are more likely to run the necessary diagnostics right form the start, which leads to better overall care for their furry friends.
#4 Most Commonly Claimed Condition for Cats: Diabetes
Diabetes is a common condition for both humans and animals. In the case of cats however, diabetes often presents itself by higher than usual water consumption, and an increase in urination, says Dr. Agarwal. If your cat shows weight loss despite a good appetite, this is also an indicator of diabetes. Pet parents who have cats with chronic pancreatitis, or give their cat a high carbohydrate dry food diet, need to be aware that their cat may be prone to diabetes as these are risk factors.
Dr. Agarwal says she usually starts diagnoses with a blood panel and urinalysis to determine a baseline. If the cat is on a dry food diet, she will also transition it to a reduced carbohydrate canned diet over the course of a week. Once a baseline is determined, she will re-asses the cat and look for improvement. She says finding these baseline levels will help determine whether the cat has diabetes, and also the proper insulin prescription if they do turn out to be diabetic.
Her message on preventative care for pet parents is simple – “don’t feed your cat dry food. I recommend a raw food diet, but going with a low-carb canned diet is just fine too and can be more cost-effective.”
#4 Most Commonly Claimed Condition for Dogs: Diarrhea
It’s never pretty, but there are many causes of diarrhea in dogs, including dietary indiscretions, stress (often when boarding or in hospital), switching diets, parasites, or more serious conditions like colitis. Dehydration is a common and side effect and can be seriously harmful, so before determining the cause, Dr. Agarwal will give the dog fluids to avoid dehydration and then test first for parasites and pancreatitis.
“For treatment, I start with a broad spectrum dewormer, then put them on a prescription to fight bacteria, and prescribe a probiotic. That’s a conservative therapy if it hasn’t been going on too long.”
For preventative care, “pet owners should also put pets on a bland diet for about 5 days [and] I strongly recommend probiotics – they are good no matter what to maintain good gut health,” says Agarwal.
Is Your Pet Covered?
If your pets are already covered, we’d like to give you a furry high-five. Now, go out and spread the word! Don’t have coverage yet? Well, what are you waiting for?! Explore the Pet-Parents section of our website to learn more. With providers across the US and Canada, there is sure to be a company that’s just right for you and the ones you love.
Stay tuned for Dr. Agarwal’s insights on the number 5 through 7 conditions. To see all of the Top 10 Most Common Medical Conditions for cats and dogs read our full article.
The Most Commonly Claimed Medical Conditions has been compiled from NAPHIA’s annual State of the Industry Report, providing everything you need to know about the marketplace in North America.
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