Posted in pet health

Providing for the unexpected

For us, they’re like our children. For children, they’re nearly their siblings. So when a pet becomes ill, the whole family suffers along with them. And when it comes to doctoring or nursing them back to health, we’d certainly like to afford the best treatment for them, as much as possible.

Unfortunately, even with the best of care – the best food, training, grooming and healthcare – sometimes a pet becomes injured or gravely ill. Then it can become difficult for families to afford veterinary care for a dearly loved pet. Specialized tests, including xrays, sonograms, and bloodwork, can add up quickly.

But who would want to turn down a good chance to make a pet well again, whatever the cost?

The insurance industry has come a long way in recent years in offering coverage for our companion animals. Depending on your location and the age, species, and breed of your pet, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 a month to almost $60 a month per pet for a basic insurance plan.

What is usually covered? Diagnostic tests, medication, and surgery are foremost. But some companies also offer discounts for well care, including spaying and neutering discounts. Providing sliding deductibles, and basic plans for those who are budget conscious, it’s worth considering coverage because pets are living longer these days. In the past, what would have shortened a pet’s life is now offset by better nutrition and, most of all, living primarily indoors. We’re beginning to see those illnesses related to old age now in our pets, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

There are more than a few companies offering pet insurance. Pets Best, Pet Plan, Hartville, 24HourPetWatch, VPI and ASPCA are among the top insurers, and if you have access to the Internet, you can find a few sites which offer comparison views or quotes of policies. The Web site http://www.petinsurancereview.com is one, and http://www.trupanionpetinsurance.com is another.

What may also help pet owners provide better care for companion animals is legislation introduced this August by Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan. The HAPPY Act, (HR 3501) which stands for Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years, would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow an individual to claim a $3,500 yearly tax deduction for pet care expenses. Only certain pet care expenses would qualify for these deductions.

The HAPPY Act was drafted with data derived from the National Pet Owners Survey in mind. The survey was administered by the American Pet Owners Association (APPA).

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) says the legislation would provide pet owners the opportunity to deduct pet care expenses (which) is an important step towards ensuring that pet owners provide adequate veterinary and other necessary pet care. It encourages responsible pet ownership and will hopefully reduce the abandonment of pets by people struggling as a result of the economic downturn. PIJAC urges you to take time to review this legislation and let your representatives know that you appreciate their efforts to support responsible pet ownership and encourage them to consider H.R. 3501 favorably.

Keeping pets healthy is looking better and better.

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Owned by three cats over age 13