Does Pet Insurance Cover Parvovirus?

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A big fear for every new dog owner is your dog contracting the life-threatening virus, canine parvovirus. Highly contagious, costly and even fatal, parvovirus is a nightmare (and will cause sleepless nights) for dogs and owners.

As prepared as we are for unexpected accidents and illnesses, some things can’t be avoided without necessary vaccinations. One instance is parvovirus. This disease can be very serious for your pet. Does pet insurance cover parvovirus? Continue reading to get the facts about this potentially fatal disease and how it can be prevented.

What is Parvo?

Also referred to as “parvo,” canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that most commonly affects the stomach and small intestines. Parvo can be spread in one of two ways. It’s not only spread if the dog comes in contact with an infected dog, but also if it comes in indirect contact with a contaminated object. Direct contact can happen if a puppy licks, smells, or eats infected feces.

Indirect contact can happen if an individual who has been exposed to an infected dog touches your dog. They can also have indirect contact through a contaminated leash, collar, water bowl, or food bowl. Once the disease hits the small intestine, it decreases absorption, damages cells, and disrupts the stomach barrier. It can also cause vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

In the case of a puppy, parvo can affect the bone marrow and even the heart. Parvo can cause the most damage to puppies and elderly dogs. The worst part of this disease is that it can live on objects for months where it is easily transmitted to people and their clothing. Symptoms of parvo in cats or dogs include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Fever
  • Low body temperature
  • Severe and possibly bloody diarrhea

Average Cost of Parvo

One of the main reasons why pet owners choose pet insurance is because they know the pets will have a variety of bumps, bruises, and health issues throughout their lives. While some of these may be inexpensive incidents, others can become costly. Parvo is a disease that is not only very serious but can be deadly and very costly for puppies. In fact, it can kill the animal within 48 to 72 hours without veterinary treatment.

Treatment for parvo almost always requires hospitalization for at least a few days or even up to ten days. This can be very costly especially if the dog is brought in after-hours for an emergency visit. With parvo, time is of the essence because it can become fatal very quickly if left untreated.

Without pet insurance, a pet owner can end up with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in vet bills. On average, treatment for parvo can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000 or more. The cost will increase for each day the dog has to be hospitalized.

What Breeds are Susceptible to Parvovirus?

Although dogs of all ages and breeds can develop parvo under the right circumstances, some are more susceptible than others are. The most susceptible are puppies between the ages of six weeks and six months. Puppies from birth to six months generally still have their mother’s antibodies to protect them. This is assuming that the mother was fully vaccinated against parvovirus.

Veterinarians recommend that puppies get parvo vaccinations when they’re six, eight, and 12 weeks old. These vaccinations are extremely important because they offer the puppy protection during the period when they are most at risk. Certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to parvovirus.

  • Rottweilers
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • German Shepherd

Plans that Cover Parvo

Since parvo is such a serious disease, many pet owners ask their vet, “Does pet insurance cover parvovirus?” The answer to this question can vary from one pet insurance company to another. Although there are some pet insurance companies that will not cover parvo treatment if the dog was not vaccinated, most pet insurance policies do cover parvovirus.

  • Embrace, which advertised their coverage as nose to tail, covers the cost of parvo treatment despite it being a preventable disease. Embrace also offers a wellness or preventative plan that covers the cost of the parvo vaccination. This plan, which comes in three tiers, can only be purchased with their basic illness/accident plan.
  • Pets Best also covers the cost of parvo treatment under their basic illness/accident plan. The cost of the vaccinations is covered under a wellness plan that must be purchased with the basic plan. The wellness plan is offered in two options. One option pays up to $30 annually towards vaccinations, and the second one pays up to $40 annually.
  • SPOT will also pay for parvo treatment under their illness policy. They do offer a wellness plan that covers the cost of vaccinations. One plan pays up to $20 annually, and the other pays up to $25.

As is the case with all the pet insurance companies mentioned, the insurance company will only pay after the pet owner has met the deductible and paid the co-payment amount. Another condition is that the dog cannot have contracted the disease before the insurance was in place.

Parvo vaccinations are not only important because they can prevent the disease and save your dog’s life, but they are also much less expensive than parvo treatment. The key to parvo prevention is not just giving your dog the parvo vaccination but keeping up with it. Some parvo vaccines are good for one year while others may be effective for three years. Pet owners should be sure to ask their vet when the shot needs to be repeated.