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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!

From Playful Puppy to Tenacious Tripod

Radar's Pet Insurance Story
“We’ve had our English Bulldog, Radar, since he was 12 weeks old and signed him up after our first visit to the veterinarian. Radar was a healthy little boy through the winter, but in spring things went haywire – we found out he is allergic to almost anything and everything. After we met the deductible, Trupanion has been paying us back 90% of the cost of his allergy medications monthly.

In November, Radar started limping. We thought it was just a sprain so put him on some anti-inflammatories and made sure he had plenty of rest until things got better. That winter the limp returned. The next spring Radar’s allergies were flaring up and his sleep apnea was getting worse so we scheduled surgery at the Iowa Veterinary Referral Clinic to widen his nares and reduce his palate. In the meantime the limp came back, so we did an x-ray and determined that Radar had a torn CCL. Our surgeon said that he could do both surgeries on the same day.

We followed the doctor’s recovery instructions to a T. About four weeks in we noticed Radar had a lot of fluid in his knee. They took another set of x-rays and found that something was broken. Radar went through four surgeries and nothing seemed to stick. Amputation was the only option left.

As hard as it was and through many tears and sobs I told the surgeon to go ahead. He called me that evening and told me that the surgery was over and assured me again that Radar would be just fine as a tri-pawed.

After just a week he is getting around better than I expected. Five surgeries in less than three months and it is over.

Trupanion paid our claims quickly from day one and didn’t ask any questions. Without Trupanion and our surgeon not charging us for some of the work, we couldn’t have afforded all of this to try and save his leg. In the end I know now that he will be just fine on three but the support throughout everything has made it easier on all of us. Trupanion’s prompt payments and excellent coverage made it all possible. Thank you, Trupanion.”

Four Ways to Celebrate Game Day with Your Pet

15847029567_39ac694cf2_oFootball season is here! Obviously, you’ll want your best bud by your side on game day—so here are four ways to make sure you and your pet are both winners.

1. Show off your gear

Dress your pet up in a pet-friendly jersey that doesn’t restrict their movement. If they aren’t comfortable in clothes, look for your favorite team’s collar, leash, toy, or bandana.

2. Get your pet in the zone

Hosting a party to watch the game or tailgate? See how they’re feeling about the crowd. Always give your pet a safe, quiet place to go and if they typically don’t enjoy a lot of commotion, it might be best to leave them at home. If they love being the center of attention and you don’t mind keeping a close eye on them, bring them along for the ride!

3. Play a game of pick-up

There’s nothing like throwing a ball for your pup in the yard. Even a game of keep away can be a great way to keep the whole family involved. While you’re throwing the pigskin, take plenty of breaks for water—especially when the weather is still warm at the start of the season—and try not to push your pup (or yourself)! A football can bounce in any direction, and a quick turn by your pet could result in a torn knee ligament.

4. Watch the game, and your pet

Pets can get into a lot of trouble when you aren’t looking—party favors, finger foods, drinks, and even the pigskin itself can become a snack for a curious pet. Don’t believe us? Trupanion covered a claim for a Goldendoodle in Iowa who ingested a rubber football.


How will you spend game day with your pet?

Service Dogs: 9 Ways They Help Families and the Community

Service DogsAre you a canine lover? Most dog owners love the many advantages of having a dog as a pet. Not only are they provided with a furry new friend to love and care for, but they also have the added sense of protection that their pets offer. While dogs are proven to be beneficial to have as pets, dogs can also be trained to do a great deal to help families in need and the communities they live in. Service dogs, in particular, are highly trained animals that are able to assist their owners in more ways than one.

How do service dogs give back to the community?


1. Guiding the Blind

One of the most common types of service dogs are guide dogs for the blind, or seeing eye dogs. Such dogs are trained to help the visually impaired get around safely. Such dogs are trained to make informed decisions when it comes to caring for their owner. They are also highly trained on how to behave well in public while also staying focused and avoiding distractions.

2. Dogs for the Deaf or Hearing Impaired

For individuals who are hearing impaired, service dogs referred to as hearing dogs are trained to provide them with assistance. Hearing dogs act as an “alarm system” of sorts, making their owners aware of different sounds. Through physical contact, the dogs are also trained to lead their owners to the source of sound when necessary. Hearing dogs give their owners a sense of freedom they would not be able to receive by living on their own. They are trained to be very alert when out in public making their owners aware of their surroundings. With time, the owner and dog learn to work as one to get through each day.

3. Mobility Assistance

For individuals who have a hard time getting around on their own, such as those with balance and strength problems, a mobility assistance dog is beneficial. They can perform a number of tasks to assist their owners including pushing buttons, bringing things out of reach closer, turning lights off and on, opening doors, and even picking up things on the floor that have been dropped. For individuals who are wheelchair bound, a mobility assistance dog can even offer extra support in getting around by pushing or pulling the chair.

4. Therapy Dogs and Healing

When it comes to recovering from certain aliments, therapy dogs are on hand to help out. Their gentle and calming nature makes them great companions for seniors and younger children. Many hospitals utilize therapy dogs to help patients heal. Their tasks can vary widely depending on the needs of the patient. Therapy dogs can complete anything from sitting and snuggling with the elderly, or sitting and listening to a child as they read. They also assist in educating individuals on humane animal treatment and frequently visit places like senior citizen buildings, nursing homes, schools, and more. You’ve likely seen such a canine wearing a therapy dog vest while traveling to different destinations.

5. Aiding Those with Diabetes

Diabetes service dogs are ideal for those who have type 1 diabetes. Diabetic sufferers, who often deal with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, are often unaware that their sugar is dropping. Diabetes service dogs in this instance learn how to tell when their owner’s blood sugar is dropping so that they can alert them right away. This essentially prevents the need for an emergency room visit and can ultimately help diabetic sufferers learn to live a more active lifestyle.

6. Seizure Alert Dogs

Individuals who suffer from frequent seizures benefit from seizure alert dogs. The service dogs are trained to alert their owners when a seizure is coming on. Their alerts allow seizure sufferers to properly lay down before it actually occurs. Such service dogs must be highly trained to understand their owner’s emotions and feelings so that they can essentially alert their owners when something is wrong.

7. Helping to Improve the Mind

If you suffer from a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or post traumatic stress disorder, you can benefit from an emotional support dog. These dogs are trained to help sufferers of mental illness around the home, as well as out in public. Their responsibilities might include reminding their owner to take their medication, making sure that they follow their schedule accordingly, or even being their companion when they seem to be emotionally overloaded.

8. Supporting the Military

Military service dogs are highly beneficial to soldiers who have been to war. They are specifically trained to work with military veterans who may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, as well as those who may have been injured and have a hard time getting around. Their training will depend on their owner’s needs, but can include getting assistance in an emergency; recognizing symptoms of mental illness; and other functions, such as mobility assistance.

9. Fighting Crime: Police Dogs

Last but not least on the list: police dogs. These service dogs are highly trained in assisting local officers in fighting crime, such as finding a missing person, sniffing out illegal substances, detecting explosives, and much more.

As you can see, dogs can do a great deal for families and communities that go well beyond just being a furry companion. With the proper training they can assist those who cannot care for themselves, and even do their part in fighting crime within the community. When you realize exactly how much a dog can do to help others, it makes you love your furry little friend all the more.

A Focus on Health

Dallas' Pet Insurance Story“I have had two dogs (soon to be three) covered by Trupanion since 2010. I signed up because a year earlier, my 10-year-old German Shepherd cost me over $3,000 in tests and exploratory surgery when I took her to the veterinarian because she wasn’t feeling well. It would have been closer to $10,000 but she was put to rest on the operating table when we realized she was too sick to recover.

Being faced with such a large bill was very difficult financially, but I just couldn’t put a seemingly healthy dog down because I couldn’t afford it. That’s what made me decide to look into pet insurance. After an exhaustive search, I chose Trupanion for their simple plan, 90% coverage, no payout limits, and ability to choose my deductible. I kept the deductible high, to keep my monthly payments lower.

Since I’ve been on the plan, my Bernese Mountain Dog, Dallas, has had three knee surgeries and was recently diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma. Trupanion has saved me over $12,000 and counting. It is so wonderful not to stress over the cost of the treatment plan my veterinarian hands to me. I can focus on what needs to be done to help my dog get healthy again.

Trupanion customer service has always been kind, helpful, and supportive. The claims process is easy and I always get my reimbursement within two weeks. I can’t thank them enough for all that they do, and I would recommend them hands down to anyone who loves their pet.”

A Part of Her Heart

Rosie's Pet Insurance Story“Late in April I brought my little girl Rosie into the emergency veterinary hospital because she was very lethargic. She was diagnosed with Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) and they immediately gave her a blood transfusion to save her life. She then went on to have five more transfusions— one for each day she was in the hospital. She was transferred to a specialist hospital where an angel of a doctor took over her case. Whatever he did worked a miracle. She finally started to respond to the immune-suppressing drugs and her immune system stopped attacking her.

According to a veterinarian at the first hospital, they had never seen such an aggressive case of IMHA. Her case was discussed by many around the country and they were surprised at the fact that I was not giving up on her despite the financial and emotional strain.

I had a very rough week but not as rough as she did. We just recently had a follow-up exam and I am ecstatic to say that she is not only holding her own but she is now producing red blood cells and the drugs are working beautifully! She is in total remission!

I am writing this for a couple of reasons: I want everyone to always be aware of any signs of illness because if I had waited even a few hours after she exhibited signs she would have died before I got her to the hospital.

I also want everyone who has a pet to really consider getting pet insurance. My final bill was almost $14,000. I have Trupanion and they covered 90% of the cost, no questions asked. And because of the type of administration system they have at the veterinary hospital, it was paid before we even left with her. I only had the balance to take care of. It was such a relief through the whole ordeal to not have to worry about the cost and to have the freedom to choose life for my beloved little Rosie. She is a huge part of my heart!

If you have any doubts at all just look at your pet and answer this: Would you be willing to give up their life just because you couldn’t afford the bill? The doctors saved her but Trupanion allowed it to happen.”