Does Pet Insurance Cover Allergies?
Does pet insurance cover allergies? That’s a big question for pet owners with pets suffering from allergies who generally find it very beneficial to find a company that offers pet insurance for allergic pets. Certain breeds of dogs and cats are more prone to allergies and ear infections. Aspiring pet owners who are aware of such breeds often look for pet insurance for allergies prior to bringing the pet into their homes.
It’s also wise to ask insurance companies “Are allergies a pre-existing condition?” By exercising due diligence, pet owners will not only be able to make informed decisions when not only getting new pets but also when choosing a pet insurance company.
All about allergies
Despite how much we all look forward to the warm weather, it’s also a time of dread due to allergies. As surprising as this may be to many, humans are not the only ones who suffer from allergies. Pets also suffer from a variety of allergies including not just seasonal allergies but also environmental and food allergies. While allergies may affect our pets slightly different than they affect us, they are still troublesome and need to be acknowledged. Fortunately, many pet insurance policies cover pet allergies, but this may often need to be part of an additional pet insurance policy.
What are animal allergies?
Animal allergies are very similar to human allergies. In fact, many of the same things that make us cough and sneeze also make our pets cough and sneeze. Animal allergies are generally one of two kinds: environmental allergies and food allergies. Allergies are often one of the number one reason pet owners take the dogs to the vet every year.
The number of cats suffering from environmental allergies has increased by 11.5 percent the past decade while dogs have experienced a 30.7 percent increase during that same decade according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Environmental allergies typically result from things in the pet’s environment, including outside and in the home. Some common triggers of environmental allergies include:
- Storage mites
- Fleas and other insects
- Cleaning solutions
Although many pets may suffer from food allergies, food allergies are not near as common as environmental allergies. Many dog or pet food companies will advertise allergy-free pet food or natural-ingredient pet food. There is no doubt that these types of pet food are going to be healthier for pets, but they may not necessarily help the pet that’s suffering from allergies because the allergies may be environmental allergies rather than food allergies.
What is a food allergy?
What many pet owners may think are food allergies actually turn out to be environmental allergies. Pets affected by food allergies may be suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, ear infections or itchy skin, but these problems may also be the result of something in the environment.
Food allergies generally develop when the animal’s immune system incorrectly identifies certain foods as an invasion rather than actual food. Some pets may suffer from not just skin issues but also gastrointestinal problems. However, before the pet owner can actually cure or correct the problem, they need to accurately diagnose the problem and the culprit. Pet allergies, whether they’re food or environmental allergies, can cause ear infections in the pet due to a buildup of wax in their ears.
This is the number two reason why pet owners take their pets to the vet each year. Regardless of what type of allergy the pet suffers from, allergies can lead to secondary infections and additional more costly problems.
Annual cost of prescription pet food
In many pet allergy cases, the pet may need nothing more than prescription pet food. Prescription pet food may be substantially more costly than regular pet food, but it can also replace medications that are even more expensive and treatment. In many cases, prescription pet food may be all the pet may need. You need to read the fine print of your pet insurance policy to see if prescription pet food is covered.
The annual cost for prescription pet food will vary by the animal, the brand of food, the animal’s weight and daily nutritional requirements. For instance, a bag of Science Diet prescription dog food averages about $75 for a 17.6-pound bag, which comes to $4.26 per pound. If a large dog is required to have one pound per day, this comes to $4.26 per day or about $1,555 per year.
The size of the dog and the duration the pet must be on the prescription food are the two things that can affect the annual cost the most. Some pets are on it for a few months, while others may be on it all their lives.
Types of allergy treatments covered by pet insurance
The type of allergy treatment your pet receives should depend on the type of allergy from which the pet suffers. The best way to determine this is take your pet to the vet to have an allergy test. Allergy tests can run from about $200 to $400. This will provide you with an accurate description of what is triggering the allergic reaction in the pet.
Some pet owners try to diagnose it on their own by experimenting with different dog foods or observing when the pet seems to be affected the most. While this may seem like the simplest way, it’s not always the most effective. It can also be time-consuming and expensive in the long run.
An allergy test by a veterinarian may seem like a big expense, but it can be the quickest way to get to the problem. If the owner has pet insurance policy that includes pet insurance for allergies, that’s an added bonus.
Some the treatment methods for allergies include:
- Anti-inflammatory therapy such as antihistamines, corticosteroids and oral allergy medications work well if given prior to the pet being around certain allergens or immediately after contact
- Shampoo therapy involves using a hypoallergenic shampoo of the pet several times a week. This works well for pets with inflamed or itchy skin.
- Desensitization or hyposensitization therapy is used when the vet knows exactly what allergen is affecting the pet, which is usually determine from an allergy test. This method involves targeting the exact area of the allergen and injecting it with medication.
- Allergy treatments may be given monthly or annually after allergy tests are performed and medication is developed based on these specific allergies.