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Trupanion Blog

Trupanion's Blog is dedicated to help educate people with pet insurance and pet health information, but more importantly, to have fun!

Holistic Medicine for Your Pet

Holistic Medicine & Pet CareToday, pet owners have access to an unprecedented level of veterinary care through a wide variety of medical approaches and resources. Pete, a 9-year-old basenji-corgi mix, was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia and, despite his low chance of survival, endured for two years after diagnosis. His treatment included strong medication, weekly testing, and alternative therapies, combining care from veterinarians specializing in emergency care, conventional medicine, and holistic medicine.

Many pet owners are taking the approach of holistic care, combining conventional and alternative care to complement one another and provide the best care for their pet. Some of the most common claims we see from our policyholders include:

  • Supplements
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Acupuncture

How Holistic Medicine Helped Treat Pete’s Anemia

This was the case for Pete’s family. Because of his age, everyone agreed that it was best to continue conventional medication while adding supplements to his diet and alternative therapies to his treatment regimen to keep him comfortable.

All of the options available to Pete contributed to his survival. Throughout the course of Pete’s illness, he was insured with Trupanion. His owner submitted over $15,170 in claims and we covered $11,051 of the bill. Pete’s owner accounts their ability to continue treatment to the financial coverage, and without the treatment, Pete would not have survived as long as he did. Read more about Pete’s story here.

Are Alternative Therapies Covered By the Trupanion Pet Insurance Policy?

The Trupanion plan offers an optional coverage package called the Recovery and Complementary Care Rider. This package covers the following specialized procedures to give your pet the well-being he or she needs:

  • Physical therapy for canines: A set of techniques adapted from from human physical therapy to improve and rehabilitate the mobility of your dog’s muscles and joints.
  • Veterinary Acupuncture: Originally used on animals in veterinary practices in China, acupuncture is used on pets to help treat various ailments. By inserting needles into targeted points of your pet’s body, the technique is designed to support healing and wellness. This method of treatment can also help treat anything from Inflammatory Bowel Disease to lameness.
  • Canine Hydrotherapy: Similar to hydrotherapy techniques used on humans, canine hydrotherapy can be used to treat conditions related to post-operative and pre-operative procedures. It’s also ideal for treating osteoarthritis, orthopedic conditions, neurological conditions, as well as muscle, ligament, and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Animal Chiropractic: A specialized field of pet health care that focuses on improving the neurological, muscular and skeletal health of your pet.
  • Behavioral Modification and Therapy: A field of pet health care that applies the principles of Operant Conditioning to reduce unwanted behaviors in your pet. These principles include Reinforcement, Extinction, Punishment and Positive Reinforcement.
  • Veterinary Homeopathy: A system for treating diseases in pets that focuses on administering small doses of a drug that stimulates the immune system and promotes self-healing.
  • Animal Naturopathy: A field of alternative pet health that focuses on natural remedies to achieve balance between nutrition, exercise and diet for your dog or cat.

With this add-on, you can take advantage of these holistic veterinary options for your dog or cat. If you’re looking for more information about pet insurance and the coverage Trupanion provides, visit our Pet Insurance FAQ page!

Four Simple Steps to File a Pet Insurance Claim with Trupanion

Filing a claim with Trupanion is easy as pie. These four simple steps help you file your claim quickly so you can focus your energy on taking care of your pet.

Trupanion Claim Form

You’ll receive an email when our claims team receives your claim—if you haven’t received the email within a week, give us a call! Keep in mind, your first claim will probably take longer than the rest—we will need your pet’s complete medical records from both current and previous veterinary and emergency hospitals.

Not sure whether you should file a claim? Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Did you visit your veterinarian for wellness care (annual exams, vaccines, preventative care, routine teeth cleanings etc.)?
  2. Did this issue occur prior to enrolling with Trupanion?
  3. Are you including the cost of the exam fee, wellness care, or taxes?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may NOT need to submit a claim. We don’t cover annual wellness exams, vaccinations, routine dental cleanings, pre-existing conditions, or your veterinarian’s exam fees.

However, if your pet goes to the veterinarian for an unexpected illness or injury be sure to file a claim. Give us a call if you ever need more clarification we’re standing by ready to help you!

More questions about the claims process? Visit our Claim FAQ. You can also download a claim form.

Help! I Think My Dog Has an Ear Infection

dog ear infectionIf you’ve had a dog, chances are they’ve had an ear infection at least once in their life. An ear infection — or otitis — is the second most frequently claimed condition for dogs that Trupanion receives. This condition affects many dogs, but with some guidance from your veterinarian, you can help prevent or treat a dog ear infection as soon as they happen.

We asked Denise Petryk, DVM, to answer a few questions about dog ear infections. Below is what she had to say.

What causes dog ear infection?

Cocker Spaniel - Trupanion Breed GuideA dog’s ear has both a vertical and horizontal ear canal, basically making the ear canal an “L-shape.” It is difficult for debris to exit the ear especially once it makes it into the horizontal canal or the bottom part of the “L.” This anatomical feature of a dog’s ear canal is partly what makes dogs prone to ear infection. Ear infections can be caused by a number of things, including debris or parasites in the ear, excessive hair growth, or other irritation of the ear canal. Recurring ear infections are often caused by the specific conformation of a dog’s ear, allergies, or other underlying conditions.

Dogs with floppy ears, like Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels, have an even greater chance of developing ear infections because their ears have a more moist, damp, and dark environment that can harbor bacteria or yeast.

Ear infection in dogs: “telltail” signs

Keep an eye out for ear discharge, ear or head pain, redness and inflammation, foul odor, excessive scratching of the ears, and shaking or tilting of the head. Serious ear infections can even cause your pet to lose their balance.

How can I treat my dog’s ear infection?

If you suspect your pet has an ear infection, consult your veterinarian. If your dog does have an ear infection, your veterinarian will typically clean out their ear and prescribe a medication to administer at home. During your appointment, your veterinarian can show you how to gently clean your dog’s ears of wax and debris and show you how to safely administer medication.

Keep an eye on your dog’s ears!

To prevent ear infections in the future, check your dog’s ears for symptoms regularly. During your dog’s next appointment with the veterinarian, ask how to clean your dog’s ears. If your veterinarian finds your dog’s recurring ear infections are a result of allergies, make sure your dog is maintaining a consistent diet and/or receiving other appropriate care to keep the pet allergies under control!

Five Tips to Make Veterinary Visits Stress-Free for Your Cat

A cat having a check-up at a veterinarian - managing cat anxiety

Veterinarians recommend that cats receive a wellness checkup once per year, but according to PetFinder.com, fewer than half of all cat owners take their cat to the veterinarian unless they are sick. Managing cat anxiety during veterinary visits can be stressful for both you and your kitty. Here are some tips to make the process run more smoothly.

Anticipate and Prepare for Cat Anxiety During Your Next Vet Visit

  1. Practice putting your cat in his carrier ahead of time. For most cat owners, just getting their cat into the carrier can be the hardest part of a veterinarian visit. But it will be much easier if the cat can get familiar with their carrier first. Don’t wait until the day of the vet appointment to introduce your cat to his carrier. Start by placing the carrier somewhere near where he normally hangs out, and let him get familiar with it. Then try to place him inside the carrier for a short amount of time and let him out.
  2. Try to schedule your cat’s vet visit at a less busy time. Ask your vet what the slower hours are and try to make an appointment during those. This will be less stressful for your cat because you won’t have to wait as long and there will be fewer other animals at the vet’s office at the same time.
  3. If it’s your cat’s first veterinary visit, have another person (who your cat knows) go with you. Another person can help comfort your cat in the car, give your cat treats and be there for help in case any emergency happens while traveling with your pet. If you have trouble getting your cat inside his carrier, another person could be helpful with this as well.
  4. Bring toys, treats and things to distract your cat. Some cats might be too stressed out to pay attention, but it’s always worthwhile to carry cat toys, catnip and treats with you to the vet visit. You can feed your cat treats and try to play with him while he is waiting in the carrier. If your cat is displaying good behavior in the car or at the vet, you can also use treats to reward him.
  5. Comfort your cat, but give him or her space. When your cat is on the table in the vet’s office, you may want to play or pet your kitty, but don’t overdo it — you don’t want to end up increasing cat anxiety and defeat the purpose. If your cat is already nervous, too much playing or touching might overwhelm your cat or distract the veterinarian.

Do you have any other tips for having a good experience at the veterinarian with your cat? We would love to hear them!

Your Dog’s Health Risks Revealed With This Test

Dog Health Risks Revealed Through New Test

Here at Trupanion, we always like to be prepared for the unexpected. When it comes to dog health-related issues, it’s hard to know what to expect — especially if you have one of those “guess that breed” mixes. Now there is a way to get a little more insight into what could happen with your pup. Just like you can test for your dog’s breed makeup, one company is now offering a way to test your dog’s genetic health with a simple swab of the cheek.

Your Dog’s Health: It’s All in The Genes

Your dog’s genetic code reveals a lot more than his or her breed. Your pet’s DNA, when combined with environmental factors, helps determine coat type, body shape, personality, health risks, and much more. Some of this information can be incredibly helpful when it comes to your dog’s health and happiness.

Certain inherited diseases are written into the genetic code and understanding your pet’s risks can help you and your veterinarian prepare for and reduce the risk of illness as your pet goes through life. Companies like Canine HealthCheck offer dog genetic testing services to see which traits your pet has inherited, and whether they are a carrier or at risk for a certain disease in the future.

Would you get your dog tested? If you already have, share your experience in the comments below. We’d love to hear how it went!