Does Pet Insurance Cover Alternative Therapies?
More and more pet owners today are treating their pets like part of the family and even taking them on vacations. This is especially true with dogs and even cats. In addition to allowing them to accompany the family when they’re out and about, pet owners are also providing their pets with the best possible medical care. Pet insurance is a great way to help pay for the cost of vet bills. While pet insurance doesn’t always pay for everything, it covers many things that are the result of illness or accidents. With the increasing use of alternative therapy for humans and pets, many pet owners are wondering if pet insurance will cover alternative therapies to traditional treatments.
What are alternative therapies for pets?
Alternative therapies are non-invasive methods of treatment used before, after and, possibly, instead of surgical procedures. There are various types of alternative therapies that include lasers, water, movements and more.
Chiropractic treatment involves aligning the pet’s nervous system through low-force manual manipulation. The animal chiropractor aligns the bones and muscles to promote good health from the inside out. Chiropractic treatment can treat conditions like stiffness subluxations, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, urinary incontinence, back and neck injuries, post-surgery recovery and injuries resulting from repetitive actions.
Veterinary acupuncture, which must be performed by specially trained veterinarians, involves sticking blunt-tipped needles into specific parts of the animal’s body. These needles release chemicals that provide pain relief and overall healing. Acupuncture may be used for allergies, seizures, cancer treatment symptoms, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis, respiratory issues, skin conditions and sports injuries.
Also known as canine water therapy, hydrotherapy uses water resistance and an underwater treadmill to help build up muscle strength and increase range of motion. This type of dog swimming therapy can be used for elbow and hip dysplasia, paralysis, IVDD, osteoarthritis, post-surgical recovery, muscle atrophy and neuromuscular disorders.
This type of physical therapy includes heat treatment exercise and massage as opposed to surgery or drugs. It can help with atrophy, muscle spasms and strains, muscle and tendon injuries, arthritis, bruised or sore muscles, hip dysplasia, and post-surgical recovery.
Therapeutic laser treatment
Therapeutic laser treatment uses red and near-infrared light to make damaged cells regenerate. The treatment can be effective for several months. Also called cold laser therapy, laser therapy can be used for post-surgery recovery, ear infections, muscle and tendon injuries, arthritis, soft-tissue trauma, hip dysplasia, IVDD, anal gland infections, gingivitis, back pain and open wounds.
Annual cost of alternative therapies
The cost of alternative therapies for pets will vary by the type and the recommended duration of the treatment. Pet owners often think alternative therapy is expensive, and it can become very expensive without pet insurance to help with some of the cost. In many cases, the cost of just a couple of treatment sessions is higher than what the pet owner would pay for a year’s worth of pet insurance. Even with deductibles and co-payments, the pet insurance offsets the cost a great deal.
It’s difficult to determine what the annual cost would be for alternative therapies for pets. A common fee for acupuncture might be $60 per sessions with a dog needing four to six sessions or a total of $240 to $360. A pet owner might pay less than this for their annual premium for pet insurance.
The larger the dog is, the more needles that will be used, which will also increase the cost. In some severe cases, the dog might require acupuncture for life. At one treatment per week, the annual cost of acupuncture might be $3120. Imagine paying this without pet insurance!
Hydrotherapy for dogs can run about $35 to $45 per session, and many dogs go through this once a week, giving this an annual cost of $1820 to $2,340. Chiropractic care for dogs can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 per session.
Therapeutic laser treatment can cost from $35 to $35 per session with 2 to 3 sessions every couple of weeks common. Although these costs don’t seem to be very expensive as single costs, the annual costs for these alternative therapies can be in the thousands of dollars.
Plans that cover alternative therapies – What do they cover?
As helpful and beneficial as pet insurance can be for alternative therapies, not all pet insurance companies cover alternative therapies. If you’re a pet owner who feels strongly about alternative therapies and want them for your pet should the need arise, read the fine print on any potential insurance plan you may be considering and speak to the agent. While companies cover alternative therapies, most do not. Here are some pet insurance companies and if and what they cover.
Covers alternative therapies for up to 12 weeks after a covered accident or illness at no additional cost.
Covers alternative therapies as long as it’s necessary to aid in healing from and illness or injury.
Covers alternative therapies at 90% of the cost.
Covers alternative therapy if it’s used for a covered illness or injury.
Covers chiropractic care and acupuncture on a limited basis.
Pet insurance may seem like just another additional monthly expense, but it can also mean the difference of keeping your beloved pet alive should he or she have a serious illness or injury. The monthly premium is minor compared to what your pet’s final bill could be. If you’re selective enough, you may even have a pet policy that covers alternative therapies.