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

Photo Friday: New Friends

“Our beloved Boxer has had several health problems, and we’re thankful that ASPCA Pet Health Insurance has been there to help cover the costs. She’s a member of our family, and we work with our wonderful veterinarian to try to keep her healthy. She is such a trooper at the veterinarian's office, and everybody there loves her. Our Boxer also got a new friend last year, a Boston Terrier, and we added her to our ASPCA Pet Health Insurance coverage right away so that when she has those inevitable bumps and scrapes, she'll also be covered.”

—Submitted by: An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Parent*

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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Customer Stories

Photo Friday: Tortoiseshell Rescued from Winter Elements

“Two winters ago, we discovered a large tortoiseshell cat eating rabbit food that we put out on our porch. One day, after seeing her with a cardboard masking tape ring around her neck, we brought her into our home. She was so cold. Her eyes were watering and her long hair was matted with evergreen thorns. We cut the cardboard ring off and trimmed her hair to make her comfortable. Then we took her to the veterinarian and, thankfully, she was healthy. The veterinarian had to shave her fur to get rid of all of the thorns, so she wore a sweater until her hair grew back. Today, she’s a happy, healthy 9-year-old girl! We love having her as part of our family.”

—Submitted by: An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Parent*

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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Customer Stories

Hartville Group Celebrates Go Orange Month

Last Friday, employees dressed up in orange to support the ASPCA®’s “Go Orange for Animals” month, which builds awareness for the ASPCA’s mission of preventing animal cruelty. This year also marks a special milestone as the ASPCA celebrates 145 years of being the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. Stay tuned for ideas later this month about how you can join in on the fun with our friends at the ASPCA!

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Hartville Group News & Info

This stroll was far from leisurely for this customer and his dog.

A 4-year-old Labrador retriever was on a walk with his pet parent when he was suddenly attacked by a swarm of bees.

He was stung more than 30 times while rolling on the ground, trying to get them off. The dog suffered an allergic reaction, which can be fatal.

Luckily, he was rushed to the veterinarian where he got injections to combat the reaction.

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

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Customer Stories

A Pet Parent Asks:
Are multiple injuries from a single event considered one incident? For example, a dog suffers an accident that causes a broken bone, cuts needing stitches and surgery. Would I be reimbursed up to one incident limit for all these injuries? Or would each injury have its own incident limit?

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Answers:
Good question!

Multiple injuries that are related to one incident share one incident limit.

For this particular scenario, you would be reimbursed up to the covered amounts on all three components of this one accident—the broken bone, cuts needing stitches and surgery—up to your maximum incident benefit.

Pet Parent Q&A is a regular column that answers customer questions in an effort to educate others. This is not a forum to receive responses to specific inquiries. Please call Customer Service at 1-866-204-6764 or email cservice@aspcapetinsurance.com for immediate assistance.

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Hartville Group News & Info

Photo Friday: Dog Loves His Kitty Cat Bed

“This is my 2-year-old Jack Russell mix. We adopted him when he was 5 months old after he’d been hit by a car and his back legs were still healing. He also got very ill a few days after coming home. Once he got better, we enrolled him in ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. We’ve been very pleased with the coverage and level of service. Today, he’s a healthy and strong boy! He loves sleeping in the sun in his ‘kitty cat bed.’ Thank you, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance!”

—Submitted by: An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Parent*

Photo Friday is a weekly column that showcases photos we receive from loving ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers of their pets. If you want to see your pet featured, please email me!

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Customer Stories

Earlier this week, we answered some customer questions to help you get the most of your plan. Here are a few more:

1. How much time do I have to submit a claim?
You can submit a claim up to 180 days from the date of the first treatment. Keep in mind that you don’t need a signature from your veterinarian. Also, be sure to include your receipts and write your plan number on all documents you send us. You can mail, fax, or email claims to us—whatever works best for you.

2. How do I update my contact information?
You can update your contact information by calling one of our Customer Satisfaction representatives, or change it easily online at the Member Center. Just sign in, click “Contact Information” on the left and follow the instructions. In the Member Center you can also change your payment method and review your coverage details.

3. How does wellness care coverage work?
We offer two levels with wellness care coverage because we know how important this care can be to help pets’ live longer, healthier lives. Level 3 covers routine wellness care, such as basic vaccinations and an annual exam. Level 4 covers more advanced wellness treatments, including an annual dental cleaning. To see what’s included in your coverage, view your plan at the Member Center.

Remember, whatever your question, our Customer Satisfaction team is available to help. They’re dedicated to giving our customers friendly, helpful and caring service.

Phone: 1-866-204-6764
Monday to Friday, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm EST
Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST
Email: cservice@aspcapetinsurance.com

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Hartville Group News & Info

In the News: More Pet Parents Using In-Home Veterinary Services—Even Euthanasia

The decision alone to euthanize a pet is profoundly difficult—but can you imagine having it done in your own home?

Some pet parents choose to euthanize their pets at home, especially when their pet is too sick to be transported to a veterinary practice or when the family simply wants the privacy and comfort of their own home.

In fact, there’s been enough demand for at least one veterinarian to start a business catering to exactly this preference. Dr. Lori Gibson started Compassionate Care, an in-home mobile pet euthanasia and aftercare service, two years ago.

And, according to The Oregonian, a growing number of veterinarians offer other types of in-home care across the US.

We recently told you about Dr. Rebecca Saria of Gold Coast Mobile Veterinary Service, who started her mobile practice to examine pets in a relaxed home setting and to diagnose problems more effectively.

“Pets can be terrified to leave the comfort of their surroundings. With Gold Coast, I’m able to go into the home and personally connect with animals as a part of the family,” Dr. Saria says.

Dr. Saria is not alone. Many veterinarians who make house calls focus on general practice care, which is especially convenient for parents of multiple pet households and families with finicky felines or large dogs. Services can include everything you would find in a traditional office, with the possible exception of a few procedures, such as X-rays, sedation and anesthesia.

But there are some drawbacks. For instance, the cost of an in-home veterinary visit can start at $65, while traditional veterinary practices charge around $40 for a general check-up, depending on the practice’s location. Also, a lack of proper lighting in a house can be an issue, so many in-home veterinarians bring their own lighting equipment.

Remember, with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, you can use any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada. This includes in-home veterinary services when the treatment provided is covered under your plan. If you have questions about your plan, please call our Customer Satisfaction team at 1-866-204-6764.

Have you ever scheduled in-home veterinary care for your pet? What was your experience like?

Make the Most of Your Plan—Answers to 7 Top Customer Questions

Whether you’re new to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance or have been part of our family for years, you may have questions about your coverage from time to time. That’s why we’ve answered some top customer questions to help you get the most out of your plan. If you have others, our Customer Satisfaction team is always ready to help any way they can.

1. How can I check the status of a claim?
If you have an email address on file with us, we’ll email you when we receive your claim and when it’s complete. In addition, you can track the status of your claims online at our free Member Center. Remember, you can easily download a PDF version of our claim form online.

2. Does my plan cover specialists?
Yes, you can use any licensed veterinarian in the US or Canada, including specialists. Your plan also covers treatment at emergency hospitals, so you don’t have to worry if you can’t get to your regular veterinarian or if your pet has an emergency.
 
3. How do I add a pet to my plan?
If you bring home a new furry friend or decide to protect another pet who’s part of your family, simply give our Customer Satisfaction team a call. When you enroll more than one pet on the same level of protection, you’ll save 10% on the base plan premium for each additional pet after the pet with the highest premium (excluding Level 1 and Continuing Care).

4. How can I get a claim form?
You can download a PDF version of our claim form easily online. You’ll see a claim form link at the top of every page of our website and on the sign in page of the Member Center. If you sign into the Member Center, you can download a form with your information pre-filled for your convenience. You can then type your specific claim information directly into the form and print it out.

Stay tuned for answers to the remaining questions later this week!

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Hartville Group News & Info

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, an 8-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.