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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!

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!

An Unexpected Infection

An Unexpected Infection “I had two cats. My male cat passed away on May 31, 2014, at the age of 7 due to diabetes. I could not afford to go on with the ever-growing bill and his further emergency treatments and had to make the devastating choice to humanely end his suffering.

I found out about Trupanion the next day and decided since I still had my baby girl, Congo, who is about 6 years old, that it would be a good idea to enroll just in case. I never really thought I would need it because she’s so healthy but the thought of having it gave me comfort.

This April 2015, I noticed Congo’s stomach was slightly distended. Immediately, my brain thought “pyometra.” She had no other symptoms beside the distended tummy, but because she was not spayed, I just had the thought. I decided better safe than sorry. So off to the emergency clinic where the diagnosis was just as I suspected. Congo needed emergency surgery, even though I caught it before it had gotten bad she still needed to have her uterus removed.

I realized I had pet insurance so I gave Trupanion a call to see what could be done. The staff were kind, caring and efficient! I felt like they truly cared about my baby girl. I thought when I got the insurance “90% covered,” was too good to be true, but it is true. Trupanion saved my Congo’s life, money was not a worry. I wish I would have been more educated about pet insurance when I got my kittens, it may have saved my boy’s life too. I recommend Trupanion to every pet owner I meet and tell them my story in hopes Trupanion will help save someone else’s fur baby’s life. Thank you, Trupanion!”

Ten Dog Breeds with Envious Locks!

The dog world is full of unique body shapes, styles, and hair. Some dog breeds are just known for their good looks. These breeds are the envy of would-be pet parents and the perfect playground for pet groomers and mobile pet grooming services all around.

Some Dogs Make Pet Grooming Totally Fun

Whether you love the beachy waves of the Afghan Hound or the curly fro of the Bichon, there’s bound to be a breed with a look you wish you had. Below you’ll find a list of ten dog breeds with envious locks for some hairspiration.