To celebrate October as Pet Wellness Care Month, we put together a fun quiz about wellness care earlier. Take the rest of the quiz now and see how you do:

4. What should you ask your veterinarian about at a wellness visit?
a) Proper diet and weight
b) Any concerns about your pet
c) Both a and b
d) Nothing – your veterinarian is busy with the exam

c) A wellness visit is a great time to ask questions, especially since your veterinarian can check out problems firsthand. Jot questions down before the visit, so you don’t forget them.

5. Are wellness care visits painful?
a) Yes
b) Sometimes
c) No

c) Your pet may not like going to the veterinarian or being examined, but these check-ups shouldn’t be painful other than a quick vaccination prick or blood draw.

6. Spaying or neutering is part of good wellness care.
a) True
b) False

a) Spaying or neutering your pet doesn’t only help with overpopulation, it can also improve the health of your pet!

Our friends at the ASPCA recommend at least one wellness visit a year for pets. Plus, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance has two options that can help you afford yearly check-ups as well as vaccines, spaying or neutering, and more. 

Start a free quote to learn about coverage available for your pet. If you’re already a customer, you can view your plan online at the Member Center.

October is National Pet Wellness month, so what better time to make sure your pet’s health is on track? Proper wellness care is so important for pets, especially since they can’t verbalize how they’re feeling. Learn more about wellness care with our quick quiz!.

1. How often should your pet have a check-up?
a) Once a year
b) Every two years
c) Only at birth

a) The ASPCA® recommends a routine exam at least once a year. If your pet has medical issues, your veterinarian may recommend more frequent check-ups.

2. Why is a regular check-up important?
a) Identify issues early
b) Keep vaccines up-to-date
c) Both a and b

c) Regular exams can help catch illnesses when they’re more treatable, and make sure your pet gets important vaccines.

3. A check-up usually includes:
a) Grooming
b) Physical exam
c) Nail clipping

b) The veterinarian should examine your pet from head to tail. You can ask for grooming or nail trimming advice, but these aren’t typically part of a regular exam.

You can also print out the ASPCA’s Vet Visit questionnaire to help make sure you’re prepared at your pet’s next wellness visit. Look for another pet wellness quiz coming soon!

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A Bedlington Terrier with a history of hair-raising accidents probably would be happy to a be a landlubber after being pitched from a boat earlier this year.

Bred as hunters, Bedlington Terriers look like sheep, but they are known for having the hearts of lions. That’s a good thing because one Bedlington in particular has had to get himself out of a couple of scrapes.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customer Becky C. tells us her dog, Carl, was tossed from the boat in which he was riding after the vessel hit a log. The dog was hit by the boat’s motor when he landed in the water. Carl suffered a few cuts that needed stitches, and he aspirated some water.

Luckily Carl’s OK now!

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Customer Stories

One dog unwrapped some trouble when she found corn cobs in a bag in the kitchen of her pet parents’ home in New England.

Ruined husks littering the dog’s bed gave her pet parent, Nancy K.,* all the clues she needed when she discovered her dog in severe pain one Sunday afternoon. Nancy took the dog to an emergency clinic, where the Greyhound was treated for her corn binge.

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance reimbursed the dog’s pet parents more than $260 for this accidental ingestion, and luckily the dog was OK.

Have you recently submitted an interesting ASPCA Pet Health Insurance claim? Tell us about it!

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Customer Stories

Lenny and Squiggy, two strays who were rescued by a veterinarian and his wife, recover after receiving their last treatment for heartworm disease.

Lenny and Squiggy chill out in the “beach bungalow” of Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., where the two strays received treatment for heartworm..

Lenny and Squiggy look right at home at their new forever home after they were rescued from a life of scrounging for scraps on Grand Turk Island.

Scavenging dogs at an island resort captivated the imagination of a North Carolina veterinarian who returned home with two unusual mementoes.

Dr. Darren Holman and his wife were introduced to potcakes— stray dogs named after their habit of foraging scraps of food caked in cooking pots–while vacationing in Grand Turk, the capital island of the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos.

“Dr. Holman and his wife noticed two potcakes in particular who continuously congregated at the doorstep of their vacation house,” said Julie Papp, Hospital Manager at Gentle Care Animal Hospital, where Dr. Holman is the head veterinarian. “It didn’t take long before they fell in love with the dogs and made arrangements to fly them back to the states for medical testing and treatment for heartworm disease.”

At the hospital, the friendly pups—named Lenny and Squiggy—quickly became a popular fixture hanging out in their “beach bungalow,” an area the staff created to replicate their former home. 

While the long heartworm treatment was arduous, today the dogs are happy and healthy.

“They are doing great,” Ms. Papp told us. “Lenny and Squiggy are living happily together in their forever home, which is actually with two of our hospital’s employees!”

For more information on Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Raleigh, visit http://www.petrepair.com/

To share a story about your veterinary practice, email us!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

Arkansas Pet Hospital Looks to Help Pet Parents

Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital in Arkansas believes in the importance of maintaining its connection with pet parents both in person and online.

For an Arkansas veterinary practice, caring for patients doesn’t end when a pet sadly passes away.

One family wrote on Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital’s website, “I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for us when we lost Harley. The flowers you sent and the memorial you made in his memory was very nice and more than I ever expected.”

Like many clinics Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital has found that sympathetic gestures, as well as regular information about pet care, are an important part of building relationships with pet parents.

“It’s important that pet parents are updated on diseases, protocol, prevention, and end of life decisions,” said Toufic Diab, Hospital Administrator at the practice in Jonesboro, Ark. “For our clients, knowledge is power in order for them to make the best choices for their beloved pets.”

The staff hosts bi-monthly meetings with their five veterinarians to brainstorm ways to convey information to their clients. They email monthly newsletters to clients, featuring topics such as camping with your pets, five ways to protect your dog’s hearing, making the decision to say goodbye, and questions to ask when considering which pet health insurance to buy. The hospital also uses its Facebook page to share helpful pet information and tips.

Most recently, the pet hospital partnered with the local newspaper, Jonesboro Sun, to feature a Jonesboro veterinarian’s pet health column each week.

The efforts are all part of a campaign to give pet parents accurate information they can use.

“Our clients can find such a mix of misleading content online these days,” Mr. Diab said. “That is why we’re so dedicated to conveying the correct information to them and helping them during difficult times through a variety of touch points.”

In the next few months, the staff will begin a monthly education series, led by one of the hospital’s veterinarians. They’re also hosting a bereavement class every quarter to provide support and coping techniques to pet parents. 

Learn more about Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital.

Do you love your veterinarian? Tell us why!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

Pet parents should keep an eye out for ticks, especially if they or their dogs have been walking through high grass.


As spring gets under way, lingering cool temperatures in parts of the US provide no refuge against one of summer’s worst scourges—ticks.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and bug specialist Dr. Kirby Stafford is advising pet parents to be vigilant.

“Oh yeah, the ticks are coming in,” said Dr. Stafford, chief scientist at the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, according to Patch.com. “They are out. Once temperatures hit even 40 degrees, the adult ticks will start moving.”

Every year, ticks sicken thousands of dogs, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The blood-sucking arachnids are vectors for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, and their bites can cause painful wounds.

Diseases caused by ticks can be fatal if they are not treated, according to experts at the ASPCA ®. Other complications can include

• Blood loss
• Anemia
• Tick paralysis
• Skin irritation and infection

Ticks, like this adult female western blacklegged tick, can cause serious illness, including Lyme disease in dogs and humans.

Keeping an eye out for ticks
It’s important to thoroughly check pets for ticks after a romp in the woods.

Though tiny, ticks are visible to the naked eye. They typically live in tall brush and grass, attaching themselves to passing hosts, including dogs and humans. The parasites prefer to feed on the head, neck, ears and feet, but they can hitch a ride on any part of the body.
 
If you spot a tick on yourself or your dog, the CDC recommends that you remove it as quickly as possible. Here are some tips:

• Do not touch the tick with your bare hands. Instead, protect yourself with a tissue or gloves.

• Using tweezers, pull the tick upward with steady, even pressure. To avoid leaving parts of the tick within the skin, do not twist or jerk the tick. You may have to remove the tick’s mouth parts from the skin.

• After removing the tick, clean and disinfect the wound and your hands.

• Check with your veterinarian if you have questions.

To find out more about ticks and the diseases they cause, visit the CDC’s website. Learn more about Lyme disease and dogs from the ASPCA.

 

 

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ASPCA Happenings

The Kitty Clinic in Clinton Township, Mich.

The Kitty Clinic in Clinton Township, Mich., caters to cats.

Cat gets comfortable

Mindy gets comfortable as the clinic's "receptionist."

Clinic kitty Cricket greets all clients

Clinic kitty Cricket greets all clients who walk through the door.

 Cat hangs out in the back of the clinic.

RuPaul hangs out in the back of the clinic.

“With dogs, you can muzzle them if they get aggressive, but with cats, you need three or four people in the room to control this tiny thing,” says Dr. Tina Ruiz, a veterinarian at The Kitty Clinic, a veterinary hospital in Clinton Township, Mich. “Cats are not dogs, especially when it comes to handling them.”

Dr. Ruiz, who went to veterinary school knowing she wanted to work exclusively with felines, understands the benefits of providing medical and surgical care exclusively to kitty patients.

“Veterinary medicine has become extremely advanced, and cats are a unique species with different diseases than other animals,” Dr. Ruiz said. “Because we treat so many cats every day, we regularly see the same diseases. This allows us to diagnose our pet patients faster.”

Gaining Popularity
More cat-only veterinary practices have been opening their doors in the past few years to not only provide tailored medical attention to felines, but also to create a calming experience for patients and pet parents.
 
Cats can get very tense around dogs and other animals in a traditional veterinary office. This may result in a stressful—and unproductive—appointment.

“One of the benefits of a cat-only clinic is that our office is very calming,” Dr. Ruiz said. “There are no barking dogs here, just our sweet office kitties.”

The Kitty Clinic also accepts a lot of cat patients that are turned away by other veterinary practices because they were too aggressive.

“Even though cats are little, they can get so angry,” Dr. Ruiz said. “We still love them though.”

Fighting Misconceptions
The challenge of handling aggressive cats isn’t nearly as difficult for The Kitty Clinic as making sure cats get the veterinary care they need.

Although felines are increasingly popular as household pets and now outnumber dogs in the US by more than 10 million, according to the CATalyst Council, fewer cat parents take their felines to the veterinarian.

According to a recent study, one-third of pet parents haven’t taken their cat to the veterinarian within the past year because of “feline resistance.” That’s really a nice way of saying it’s because the cats just don’t like it.

In a bad economy, that outlook is impacting cat-only veterinary practices.

“Before the recession, the veterinary industry was moving in the direction of encouraging more practices to be cat only,” Dr. Ruiz said. “However, this is not the case anymore. Cat-only clinics have definitely been hurt the most.”

But despite the challenges, Dr. Ruiz expresses a true passion for what she does.

“At the end of the day, my favorite part is seeing the loving relationship between cats and their owners who visit our hospital,” Dr. Ruiz said. “We treat every kitty that comes in here like family.”

Learn more about The Kitty Clinic.

Do you love your veterinarian? Tell us why!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

It seems this dog has quite the urgent sweet tooth!

A pet parent returned home to find her Springer Spaniel had opened and eaten an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—wrappers and all.

She instantly took her dog, plus the empty bag of candy, to her veterinarian. The veterinarian used liquid charcoal to induce vomiting.

Once back at home, the dog was his playful self again, and his parent hid all the household candy in some out-of-reach cabinets.

Have you recently submitted an interesting ASPCA Pet Health Insurance claim? Tell us about it!

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Customer Stories

We’ll give this feline the benefit of the doubt that all of this was purely an accident.

A customer’s kitty knocked the dog’s arthritis medication off the counter and onto the floor. When the pet parent found the empty, chewed medicine bottle in her room, she knew her dog had gobbled up all the pills.

Thankfully, the pup is OK and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance reimbursed this pet parent $420 for the medical expenses.
 
Have you recently submitted an interesting ASPCA Pet Health Insurance claim? Tell us about it!

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Customer Stories

WELCOME,
PET PARENTS!

As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, a 7-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.