Upper Respiratory Infection and Allergies: Commonly Claimed Medical Conditions for Pets

Dr. Jacquelyn Chorba Discusses the #2 Most Commonly Claimed Medical Condition 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.

Respiratory issues and allergies are both common health issues for humans, but did you know that they are the #2 condition for cats and dogs as well? Dr. Jacquelyn Chorba of Bartels Busack Pet Hospital Resort & Spa in Parma, Ohio talks about the causes and symptoms of these conditions, and offers useful tips on preventative care that can help pet parents address cases before they become too serious.

#2 Most Commonly Claimed Condition for Cats: Upper Respiratory Infection

Dr. Chorba sees many cases of upper respiratory infection at her hospital. Operating next to an animal shelter, many of the cats she sees are going up for adoption or recently adopted, and the stress of these changes often results in breathing issues. Prospective pet parents who are considering adopting a cat should be aware of this increased susceptibility and watch their pet for symptoms. Common symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, runny or goopy eyes and even eyes fully crusted shut.

Feline upper respiratory tract infections typically are caused by a combination of highly contagious viral and bacterial pathogens. This condition may also be known as feline viral respiratory disease complex, feline influenza or simply “cat flu.”

Prevention-wise, Dr. Chorba finds this to be a “hard one to manage” because it is usually triggered by a lowered immune system from stress, so it can be hard to avoid. Some preventative tips that pet parents can try include “creating additional hiding spots for cats, the addition of free flowing water and, if there are more than one cat in the house, to have one more litter box than cats. The idea is that all of these can help bring down a cat’s stress level.”

#2 Most Commonly Claimed Condition for Dogs: Allergies

This came as no surprise to Dr. Chorba. Allergies are not only a frequent condition in dogs but are also complex, because the cause can be difficult to determine and there are various methods of treatment.

The most common symptoms in dogs are itchy/watery eyes, and tests need to be done to determine the cause of the allergy. Causes can include an allergen, yeast issue, mites, fleas, and more. Treatment can then range from immediate topical shampoos that are antibacterial and antifungal to ongoing flea treatments. For the itchiness, she usually recommends an antihistamine or, if they are beyond relief, a short dose of steroids to break the cycle.

Allergies in dogs be seasonal or constant, just like with humans. Dr. Chorba finds that many pet owners bring dogs in annually around the same time of year, and many others bring their dog in monthly with persistent issues. For pets with persistent issues, they will often do food trials similar to an elimination diet for humans, blood tests or skin testing to determine the allergen and then develop a vaccine to help treat the issue.

“Preventatively, at the first sign of itching, bring your pet in before you see secondary changes like bacterial conditions and infections. The biggest strategy is flea prevention year round,” Dr. Chorba explains.

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. Chorba’s insights on the number 3 condition. 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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