I am often asked by clients if they should purchase pet insurance. This is a tricky question for several reasons however, I have a few suggestions that might help you decide if pet insurance is right for you.
- Can you afford the premiums. Most pet insurance policies are flexible as to the amount of coverage that you can carry, the deductibles and what they cover. To help make that decision you can consider the following questions.
- Is your type of pet prone to illnesses? Certain breeds of dog are more likely to have genetic illnesses than others. The same is true for cats and other pets. Will the pet insurance cover the illnesses most likely to affect your pet?
- What is your pet’s lifestyle? If you are active with your dog, horse or other type of pet, or if you cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, your pet may be more likely to have an injury.
- If your dog is a larger breed of dog, he may be more prone to inherited problems such as canine hip dysplasia which can be corrected with surgery.
- If your pet is prone to a certain disease or inherited issue, find out what treatment costs then compare it to the estimated years it will take for the illness to manifest itself and see if the insurance is worth the cost.
- Consider the life span of your pet. Most pet insurance rates go up as the pet ages. Some insurance will not cover your pet after a certain age. Of course the most likely time you will need the insurance is in your pets old age when coverage may not be an option.
- Consider a personal savings plan to cover catastrophic health issues. If you take the projected life span of your pet and the amount of the yearly insurance fee, then multiply it, you will get an idea of how much the insurance will cost over the life of your pet. What you can do is set up a separate savings account and either yearly or monthly, deposit the amount that insurance will cost per year, and do not touch it for any reason. In all probability you will save enough money to cover any medical bills that your pet will have, especially if your pet is healthy into old age. If you do not need the money set aside for your pet by the time your pet passes, you will have money to put toward the new pet.
I hope I have given you some helpful suggestions. There is a good web site that can help you review different pet insurance companies if you decide that is the way to go.
In a recent experiment by Isabelle Chea, a then-undergraduate honors student at the UA, and Ann Baldwin, UA professor of physiology and psychology, found that sniffing lavender calmed horses. However, the calming affect only lasted while they were sniffing the vapor.
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This is a good thing because the traditional method of calming a nervous horse is to use tranquilizers which remain in the horse after it is needed. However, sniffing the lavender can be used only when needed with no side or prolonged affects.
Professor Baldwin plans to try other scents and doses to see if they calm horses as well. I would love to see experiments on dogs and cats using various types of aromatherapy to calm them, especially for veterinarian visits.
Although Dr Alan McElligott is currently based at the University of Roehampton, he led the study at Queen Mary University of London to determine if goats react to human facial expressions. He found that goats would rather interact with people who smile and are happy. The study further showed that goats use the left hemisphere of their brain to react to positive facial expressions.
Anyone who works with goats recognizes that they are very attuned to human body language, but this study shows that goats recognize facial expressions and the emotions that they represent. Past studies have shown that dogs, birds and horses also have this ability.
Goats, horses, birds and dogs represent a wide spectrum of the animal kingdom. It stands to reason that many other animals, both domestic and wild have the same abilities to some degree. The challenge is to devise a way to test a wider range of animals and birds. It is exciting to be able to understand more about the animals that we love and anticipate what future studies will teach us.
Associate Professor Ayaka Takimoto of Hokkaido University, graduate student Kosuke Nakamura of The University of Tokyo, and former Professor Toshikazu Hasegawa of The University of Tokyo have established that horses, like dogs, can read and understand human faces and emotions.
They found that horses who looked at human faces while listening to recorded voices were able to recognize when the face was happy, but the voice recording was scolding and knew that the voice did not match the face. They were able to recognize happy faces with happy recordings and angry faces with angry recordings.
What was also interesting was that it did not matter if the horse knew the person or not. They were still able to match the correct facial expression with the correct voice.
Horses do have strong communication capabilities. They can read the emotions of other horses using facial expressions, contact calls, and whinnies. With this in mind, it is not surprising that with their long association with humans, that they have learned to read us. It would be reasonable to assume that other members of the equine family have the capability to read us too.
Dr. Catrin Rutland, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Developmental Genetics at Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, led a study with the Kazan Federal University and the Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology that discovered the use of DNA injections to cure injury related lameness in horses.
Within two months the horses were 100% restored to their pre-injury state. The gene therapy uses a combination of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor gene VEGF164, to enhance the growth of blood vessels and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), which plays an important role in the development of bone and cartilage.
The genes were taken from horses and cloned into a DNA, which was not rejected by the horses that were treated since it was horse DNA. The current therapies for lameness at best has only a 40 to 80% success rate and can take up to 6 months for the horse to recover.
The DNA treatment resulted in the tissues in the horse’s limbs to be fully recovered. As a follow-up the horses were examined a year later and found to be 100% fit, active and pain free.
Not only is this good for horses, but the researchers hope that with further research, the method can be used on all animals, including people who suffer from similar injuries.
Rat lungworm, a parasitic nematode, has been found in five Florida counties so far. The lungworm depends on rat and snail hosts to complete its life-cycle. To become infected, both humans and animals must eat the snails or infected frogs or crustaceans.
Although the fatality rate in infected humans is low, the parasite can cause eosinophilic meningitis if it dies in a person’s brain which can lead to a coma and/or death.
Adults who become infected suffer from headaches, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, nausea, and paralysis. Children suffer from nausea, vomiting and fever.
Animals that are infected can get meningitis, weakness in their limbs or even paralysis, neck pain and central nervous system problems.
Prevention involves washing produce since snails can be very small. Children should be taught not to handle or eat snails. If they handle a snail they must wash their hands. To prevent infection in pets, check their living area including watering troughs or dishes, and watch to make sure that your animals do not eat snails.
“There goes Little Jim!” the soldiers would call outfrom the trenches as an unusual messenger dog flew across the fields. Little Jim was a small black Pomeranian mix who was so fast that soldiers described him as a black streak.
In December of 1915 the soldiers of A Battery, 52nd Brigade, RFA, purchased a goose and gander to be fattened for Christmas dinner. However, some of the soldiers decided that they were too cute to eat. So a trial was held to determine their fate. It was decided that they should be mascots for the duration of the war. They traveled in the mess cart with their heads hanging out for the rest of the war. What a comical sight they made.
Pitoutchi the cat is credited for saving his masters life inthe trenches. How could a cat save a man’s life from the Germans?
One of England’s largest seaplanes went down in bad weather. The only hope for survival depended on a pigeon, one pigeon out of three that survived the crash. Did he make it?
The variety of animals and birds were involved in WWI is amazing. Any type of animal or bird could be a mascot. Some mascots went to battle and some stayed behind to cheer the wounded or relieve stress for the newly arrived soldiers.
Read these accounts and many others in the book Soldiers in Fur and Feathers: The Animals that Served in WWI- Allied Forces. An autographed copy of the book is available at www.sbulanda.com you can also purchase it on Amazon or at www.alpinepub.com