Veterinary Wellness Visits Keep Pet Costs Down

Annual Examinations Can Save Pet Owners from Racking Up Expensive Bills

Brea, Calif. (May 1, 2014) – Pet parents typically want the very best for their animal companions, and that includes the best in veterinary care. The problem? Providing top-quality care can be expensive, even though veterinarians work to keep costs down. But it’s possible to take a bite out of veterinary expenses without shortchanging your pet’s health, by shifting the focus to preventive and well-pet care.

The place to start is with an annual comprehensive wellness visit. These nose-to-tail wellness examinations are an excellent way of catching any potential - and likely expensive - problems early. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 500,000 insured pets to determine costs associated with the most common preventive canine and feline conditions in 2013. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive care:

Dental Diseases:
Examples: Tooth infection or cavity and periodontal disease.
Definition: Diseases caused by, or directly related to, inflammation or infection of the gums or teeth due to overgrowth of bacteria.
Average cost per pet to treat: $577
Average cost per pet to prevent: $171
Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing teeth or feeding pet foods designed to help reduce dental tarter, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is a professional teeth cleaning which will remove plaque buildup and tarter before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. It’s recommended that pets have their teeth checked by a veterinarian every six to twelve months.

Internal Parasites:
Examples: Round worms, tape worms and giardia.
Definition: A parasite is a plant or animal that lives within another living organism (called the host). Pets may acquire conditions caused directly by a parasite or the pet's response to the parasite living within its body.
Average cost per pet to treat: $181
Average cost per pet to prevent: $31
Prevention tips: Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet's feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet goes for a walk. As recommended by your veterinarian, annual fecal exams and preventive medications can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation.

External Parasites:
Examples: Heartworms transmitted by mosquitoes, Lyme disease transmitted by ticks and flea allergic dermatitis.
Definition: A plant or animal that lives upon another living organism. Pets may acquire conditions caused directly by a parasite or the pet's response to the parasite or its bite. Some conditions are the result of a toxin or organism (e.g. bacteria, virus, etc.) transmitted by the parasite which can cause an illness.
Average cost per pet to treat: $192
Average cost per pet to prevent: $85
Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and remove any ticks you find with a pair of tweezers. As recommended by your veterinarian, use preventive medications and vaccines to limit your pet's exposure to fleas, ticks and the diseases they carry.

Infectious Diseases:
Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus.
Definition: Conditions transmitted via bite or contact with another animal which carries a transmittable or communicable disease (virus, bacteria, fungi, etc). Transmission of disease can occur in various ways including physical contact, contaminated food, body fluids, objects, airborne inhalation, or through biological vectors (any agent that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism).
Average cost per pet to treat: $742
Average cost per canine to prevent using core vaccines: $87
Average cost per feline to prevent using core vaccines: $75
Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol recommended by your veterinarian may include additional vaccines based on your pet's exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc). Keep your pet and the environment free of fleas and ticks to limit exposure to organisms that external parasites carry. In addition, keep your pet away from any other animals that may be sick.

Reproductive Organ Diseases:
Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia.
Definition: A reproductive organ is any of the anatomical parts of a pet's body which are involved in sexual reproduction. Pets may develop conditions caused by, or directly related to, the pet having intact reproductive organs.
Average cost per pet to treat: $582
Average cost per pet to prevent: $273
Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.

“Veterinarians are passionate about keeping pets healthy,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Despite all of the cutting-edge care that’s now available in veterinary medicine to treat advanced illness, the cornerstone of quality care is catching diseases early. Annually, seeking your veterinarian’s advice on your pet’s wellness care saves money. Even more importantly, it can extend pets’ lifespan, improving quality of life for both pets and the pet owners.”

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 500,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the first 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. Wellness coverage and 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.


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