Does Pet Insurance Cover Leptospirosis?
From the time we bring home our little bundle of pet joy, our main concern is keeping them happy and healthy. Keeping them happy is easy because all that pets require for happiness is love, food, and toys or treats. Keeping them healthy is another story. This requires not only healthy living but also annual checkups to ensure your pet is as healthy as possible.
In many cases, keeping your pet healthy requires getting annual vaccinations against certain diseases cats or dogs are prone to getting. One of these diseases is leptospirosis, which is a disease that can be deadly to your cat or dog. Having pet insurance makes it easier to provide your pet with good medical care, but does pet insurance cover leptospirosis?
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What is Leptospirosis?
Also known as “lepto”, leptospirosis is a disease that typically affects dogs, although it can affect other animals as well. Symptoms of leptospirosis are very similar to the flu, so it’s easy to overlook the symptoms. However, lepto is much more serious than the flu. In fact, the disease can become fatal if left untreated.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that spreads through contact with the urine of an infected domestic or wild animal. Your cat or dog may be exposed to infected urine in ponds, wooded areas, or any place wither there is standing water. This particular disease consists of several strains – all of which can affect other animals.
Dogs and cats are not the only animals that can spread and become infected with leptospirosis. Raccoons, rats, mice, and opossums have also been known to spread the disease to others. It enters the animal’s system through the eyes mouth or nose. If the animal has scratched or broken skin, this also provides the bacteria with an easy path into the body.
Unfortunately, leptospirosis can be transmitted directly and indirectly to not just mammals but humans as well. When treating an animal with leptospirosis, it’s very important to exercise rigid hygienic practices and use personal protective equipment.
Leptospirosis Signs and Symptoms
An animal infected with leptospirosis can exhibit many symptoms. They may vary from one animal to the next. The type of symptoms the animal may have will vary depending on what bodily organ is affected by the disease. It can take anywhere from four to 12 days for the symptoms of lepto to show up. Once the disease gets into the bloodstream, it can rapidly spread to the animal’s spleen, liver, and kidneys.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include any of the following.
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain or severe weakness
- Lack of appetite
- Refusal to drink
- Excessive water consumption
Pet Insurance Plans that Cover Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a very serious disease for cats and dogs. It’s also a disease that can be prevented with a vaccination. Vets will often recommend this vaccination at an annual checkup. A commonly asked question is, “Does pet insurance cover leptospirosis?” That depends on the pet insurance company and the type of policy you have on your pet.
- Embrace covers the cost of treatment for leptospirosis, including medication, bloodwork, and even hospitalization, if necessary, through its basic illness and accident policy. They also offer a Wellness plan that covers the cost of a leptospirosis vaccine.
- Pets Best also covers the cost of leptospirosis treatment through their accident/illness policy. Like Embrace, they also cover the cost of the lepto vaccination through the wellness plan. Although both Embrace and Pets Best pay for treatment for leptospirosis, the pet owner will still have to pay the deductible and co-payment amount. In fact, this is the case with all the pet insurance companies.
- Healthy Paws covers the expense of treating a pet for leptospirosis. They don’t offer a preventive or wellness plan but just one package that covers most diseases, including lepto. They also do not have a cap on how much they will pay, unlike other insurance companies that have a limit on the amount they’ll pay annually or in the animal’s lifetime.
With most pet insurance policies, wellness plans cannot be purchased alone. They must be purchased as an add-on to their basic health insurance policy. When purchasing a pet insurance company, it’s important to read the exclusions or the things they will not cover. Some pet insurance companies will not cover the cost of treatment for a disease like lepto if a vaccine could have prevented it.
Does Pet Insurance Cover the Lepto Vaccine?
Most pet insurance companies do not cover the cost of the leptospirosis vaccination. At least, they don’t cover it under their basic accident/illness plans because vaccinations are considered preventive medicine. Those that do cover the vaccination do so as part of their wellness or preventive plans. As stated above, wellness plans cannot be purchased separately.
These plans must be purchased WITH a regular pet insurance company. Another note to remember is that most companies will not pay for a pre-existing condition. If your pet had lepto before purchasing the insurance policy and later develops continuing symptoms, the insurance company may not cover any of the bills relating to leptospirosis.
As always, we recommend insuring your pets early in life (if you can), and getting the maximum coverage you can afford, since you never know what your pets may get into.