Hereditary Conditions like Legg Perthes Not Automatically Pre-Existing - The Trupanion Blog
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Hereditary Conditions like Legg Perthes Not Automatically Pre-Existing

Trupanion reminds owners of pets prone to Legg Perthes disease to make sure their pet insurance provider covers the condition.

Trupanion covers Legg-Perthes disease, something other providers do not.

( March 28, 2011 — Pet insurance providers typically do not cover congenital conditions, as by definition they are present at birth, making them pre-existing. However, Trupanion, North America’s fastest-growing pet insurance provider, will cover these conditions as long as the pet had full policy coverage before the first signs or symptoms of the condition were noted. Legg Perthes disease is one such condition.

Legg-Perthes disease (also known as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, Perthes disease, or Legg’s disease) is a congenital condition that has no known cause. The condition is characterized by the disruption of blood to the upper part of the femur bone at the hip, causing the bone to degenerate, deform, fracture, and die. When the bone cells die, they are replaced by tissue that is not as hard as bone. Eventually, the hip collapses and the dog becomes painfully immobile.

The condition usually involves just one hip, but in some cases can involve both. Symptoms include pain when stretching, lameness, favoring one leg, reluctance to move, and chewing or licking the hip joint during movement. Pet owners who notice these symptoms should contact their veterinarian immediately.

Legg-Perthes disease occurs more commonly in young, small-breed dogs between five and 12 months of age. Some of the most common dog breeds affected are Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Poodle, and Pug.

The good news is that once dogs are treated for Legg Perthes disease, their outlook is good. Most dogs are able to live long and active lives without physical restrictions. The bad news is that treatment is expensive, costing up to $7,000, depending on the treatment type.

Many pet insurance companies won’t cover this treatment because of the congenital nature of the condition. Choosing a pet insurance provider that covers hereditary and congenital issues can help alleviate financial stress, allowing the pet owner to choose the best treatment option.

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