When questioning whether pet health insurance is right for you, it is easy to think that your dog is healthy and therefore will never require emergency care. However, many reimbursements by pet health insurance companies are caused by emergency situations. The most common emergency veterinary visits are described.
The top cause of accidental death in dogs and cats is poisoning. Many items that are routinely found around the house are to blame. For instance, Theobromine poisoning, xylitol, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts are all highly toxic to pets. Indoor and outdoor plants have been known to cause toxicity in animals, including lilies, daffodils, and ivy. Household cleaners such as bleach pose a serious to risk to pets, while rat poison is the top toxin for both dogs and cats. An animal that has been poisoned will likely have his or her stomach pumped and receive supportive care to prevent liver failure.
Although it is not uncommon for a dog or cat to occasionally vomit or have a bout of diarrhea, an animal’s condition can deteriorate quickly when an upset stomach continues for days. Dogs and cats may be prescribed antibiotics as well as supportive care, such as IV fluids for rehydration.
No matter how well you contain your pet within the home, accidents do happen. Unfortunately, approximately 1.2 million dogs are killed on the roads each year in the United States alone. Emergencies such as these require immediate care and can be costly as x-rays, surgery, and hospitalization are the norm in this situation.
Animals tend to eat things they should otherwise avoid. Examples include needles and thread, socks, corn cobs, rocks, and toy fragments. These items can become lodged in the animal’s stomach or intestines, causing major problems. In most instances, surgery is required to dislodge the trapped item – much to the chagrin of the owner (and his or her wallet).
A very serious and oftentimes fatal condition is bloat, also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus. Bloat occurs when too much food, air, or water becomes trapped in a dog’s stomach. Gastric volvulus occurs when the stomach than flips on its axis, cutting off the supply of blood to vital organs. For certain breeds, such as Great Danes, up to 25% of dogs may be affected. At the veterinarian’s office, the doctor will first try to empty the stomach of its contents if it has not yet flipped. If volvulus has occurred, surgery is necessary.