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While pet owners do their best to ensure that their animals remain happy and healthy, unexpected illnesses and accidents sometime occur. When unfortunate events happen, it is advantageous to have pet insurance. Although we all hope that our pets will avoid illness or injury, it is better to have insurance coverage if the unthinkable does happen. Pet insurance can also help you avoid unexpected vet bills, which can reach hundreds or even thousands of dollars. According to, “With pet health insurance on your side, you can confidently follow your veterinarian’s recommended course of treatment with financial peace of mind.”

Dogs of all ages need health care and advanced veterinary care can become quite expensive. More life- saving treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgery and diagnostic tests such as MRIs are becoming available as each year vet technology improves. According to the American Veterinary Medical

Association’s 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, the cost of veterinary care has more than doubled over the past ten years.

With pet insurance, your dog will have access

to veterinary care and prescription medications. Commonly, dog insurance premiums depend on several factors, including the amount of coverage you desire and the age and breed of your dog. Many companies let you mix and match your desired coverage, co-pay amounts and deductible so that you can build a policy that will meet your budget and your pet's needs.

Coverage is usually available at different levels of protection. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance continues the ASPCA’s mission as the United States’ leading voice for animal welfare by “helping pet parents afford the veterinary care their pets need,” according to their website, They offer two choices for wellness care and also offer extra protection for long-term or chronic conditions.

Best Friends Animal Society offers three levels of pet insurance coverage through their website. According to, all three of these levels offer “coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of all accidents and all illnesses.” This coverage extends to: ultrasounds, X-rays, CAT scans, blood work, and hospitalization.

(bones and joints) and oncology (cancer treatments). Some policies cover alternative therapies including, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment, providing those treatments are recommended and performed by a licensed veterinarian. Pet insurance can also cover routine check-ups for your dog and preventive treatments such as vaccinations and dental cleanings.

Some pet insurance policies cover fees for specialist and referral veterinary treatment. According to, these specialized conditions include: cardiology (matters of the heart); dermatology (skin conditions and allergies); orthopedics

When shopping for pet insurance, do your homework.

While some companies provide

coverage for hereditary, congenital and pre- existing conditions, others impose restrictions and age limits or require extra fees. Many pet insurance providers offer rate comparisons and quotes on their websites. A good site to visit is

22 Volume 2 • Issue 1 T The Triangle Dog

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