GUEST BLOGGER: Heather Kalinowski of Trupanion pet insurance.
Arthritis is a condition that affects many pets. Just like with humans, the joints in an animal’s body can start to deteriorate and swell with age, causing pain and immobility. But again, just like with humans, this doesn’t mean an animal’s quality of life has to suffer. There are treatment options that will help take the pain out of the aging process.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition caused by the inflammation of the joints in the body. It usually develops in older pets after years of daily wear and tear of the joints and is simply caused by age. However, it can also be caused by an infection in the joint or trauma to the joint.
Signs and symptoms
It can be hard to spot the signs of arthritis because the condition develops slowly over a period of time. Animals may start making small changes to their normal routine in order to make up for the stiffness they feel. For example, they may start to take longer to get out of bed or may stop jumping up on the couch as normal. Eventually, it will become apparent that they are having a hard time getting around and that each movement is causing them pain.
Treatment options and cost
Once the pain has become apparent, it is time to see a veterinarian. The vet will conduct some tests to make sure the arthritis diagnosis is correct (this may include X-rays, blood tests, and a fluid aspiration) and then will develop a treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the condition and the age of the pet, treatment may consist of daily medication and dietary changes or surgery. Sometimes a holistic approach, such as acupuncture, will be encouraged.
The cost of any of these treatment options can be expensive. With veterinary medicine seeing advances every day, there are more and more treatment options available, but with an increased cost. Even just the traditional tests used to diagnose arthritis can be pricey.
How pet insurance can help
Pet insurance can give dog and cat owners the peace of mind that cost will not be an issue when deciding the best course of treatment for their pet. If their pet’s particular circumstance could be best solved by a total hip replacement, adding years to the pet’s life, the pet owner doesn’t want to have to decline because the $2,000 price tag doesn’t fit into the family budget. Pet insurance takes the financial burden out of the equation. Here are some real-life examples of an arthritis diagnosis and how pet insurance helped with cost.Macks, a 4-year-old mixed breed dog Cost of treatment: $1,062.26 Reimbursement amount: $956.03
Winnie, a 6-year-old Boxer Cost of treatment: $676.60 Reimbursement amount: $608.94
Joey, a 5-year-old mixed breed dog Cost of treatment: $746.77 Reimbursement amount: $672.09
Bailey, a 4-year-old mixed breed dog Cost of treatment: $984.73 Reimbursement amount: $886.26
All of these pets received hospitalization, anesthetic, X-rays, and medication to treat their arthritis. Some are still receiving treatment today. But their owners never had to worry about the cost because they had pet insurance to serve as their financial safety net.
While it can be quite sad to see a beloved pet develop arthritis due to age, the silver lining is that this condition can be treated in a way that prolongs the pet’s quality of life. And as veterinary care continues to see advancements, we can expect to see even better ways to keep our aging pets happy and healthy for longer than ever.Heather Kalinowski is the proud mom of two fur-kids – an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson. She writes about pet health issues and fun pet stories at Trupanion pet insurance.