Dear Readers: The posting in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Jan. 15, 2021, vol. 258, pp. 104-105, “Regulatory standards on pet health insurance being developed”) affirmed my concerns over this chaotically inconsistent industry, which could help decrease euthanasia for economic reasons but has fuzzy language as per “preexisting conditions.”
Apparently, there are some 20 companies across Canada and the United States involved in pet health insurance, and some 1.7% of owned dogs and cats are insured in the U.S. Now the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has established a Pet Insurance Working Group to develop a model law. This group’s meetings are public, and interested persons can go to jav.ma/workinggroup for details. For my own analysis of pet health insurance, see my review posted at drfoxonehealth.com.
Dear Dr. Fox: My 12-year-old Morkie tore his ACL in his left rear knee in a freak accident. I had a consultation with a surgeon. The cost of the surgery doesn’t bother me as much as the prospect of the post-op period, for both my dog and me. Since my consultation, my beloved dog has started to put minimal weight on the affected leg. Not all the time, but most of the time. He doesn’t appear to be in any pain, even when I touch and extend his leg.
Am I wrong to think that it would be best for him to live his life out in this condition without the surgery? J.S., Santa Fe, New Mexico
Dear J.S.: I have followed the pros and cons of corrective surgery for this condition in dogs for several decades. Some veterinarians feel it is always indicated, while I join those who are more conservative with smaller dogs. They often heal and gain normal locomotion without surgery. Physical therapy in a warm swimming pool can help. I also advise general body massage as per my book “The Healing Touch for Dogs,” and a daily supplement in the dog’s food of powdered turmeric and ginger, one-quarter of a teaspoon of each for a dog the size of yours. Also Cosequin, a glucosamine, chondroitin plus MSM supplement, may provide additional support.
Pet health insurance might have covered the cost of anesthesia and surgery, which is in the thousands of dollars for this all-too-prevalent malady, but could have been denied if your dog has some “preexisting condition” such as misaligned and bent legs, common in many breeds. Best prevention is keeping the dog lean. Keep me posted.
Email Dr. Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org