Pet Owners Spend More on Dental Conditions than Prevention
Brea, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2013) – February is Pet Dental Health Month, and Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, is marking the occasion by reminding pet owners about the importance of regular dental care for their four-legged loved ones. In 2012, VPI policyholders spent more than $9.7 million on dental conditions and procedures, the sixth most common type of claim submitted to the Company during the year.
Preventive oral care is not only necessary for pets; it’s financially sound for pet owners. In 2012, the average claim amount for pet teeth cleaning was $166. In contrast, the average claim amount for treating dental-related disease was $227. Periodontal disease, a condition caused by residual food, bacteria and tartar that collect in the spaces between the gum and tooth (resulting in infection that can spread to the bone), accounted for the most dental claims received by VPI last year— more than 22,000. Tooth infections, inclusive of cavities and abscesses, accounted for the second most common dental-related claims, totaling more than 7,700. Infections of the teeth are typically the result of untreated tooth decay, cracked or fractured teeth, or severe periodontal disease.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an organization dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. VPI encourages pet owners to have their pets’ oral health evaluated bi-annually by a veterinarian. Dr. Carol McConnell, VPI’s chief veterinary medical officer recommends, “Between regular veterinary examinations, pet owners should look for the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines, and bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched.”
The American Veterinary Dental College’s formal list of indicators that a dog or cat may have dental disease includes:
- Bad breath
- Loose or discolored teeth or teeth covered in tartar
- Pet not comfortable with owner touching within the mouth area
- Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
Pet Dental Health Fast Facts:
- Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that begin to show at about 3 to 4 weeks of age
- They have 42 permanent teeth that generally grow in between 5 to 7 months of age
- Periodontal disease is the most common dental issue among dogs
- Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to show at about 2 to 3 weeks of age
- They have 30 permanent teeth that generally grow in by 5 to 6 months of age
- Resorptive lesions are the most common tooth disease among cats
About Veterinary Pet Insurance
With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.
VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.