Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the world's largest pet health insurance company, analyzes its claims each year to formulate a list of the top reasons that pets were taken to their veterinarian over the past year. The list is out for 2007 and it is an interesting one. The number one ailment on the list is ear infections. Ear infections are relatively common in all breeds of dogs, but especially problematic for dogs with heavy ears and ears that hang down over the ear canal, trapping moisture and keeping it dark. Often, because the ear is painful, dogs must be sedated or lightly anesthetized in order to flush out and treat the ear. This can become quite expensive, explaining why pet insurance customers often submitted claims for the treatment. Skin conditions took the number 2, 3 and 7 positions with skin allergies, hot spots and benign skin tumors respectively. Vomiting was number 4 and diarrhea was number 5. Veterinary Pet Insurance reports that nearly 1/3 of the claims for gastrointestinal upset were related to diet, diet change or dietary indiscretion. To help prevent digestive problems, VPI recommends that a pet food be selected that meets the pet's specific needs and that this diet be fed consistently. Filling out the remaining slots were urinary tract infections as number 6, eye inflammation as number 8, osteoarthritis as number 9 and hypothyroidism as number 10.
I think it is important to realize that not just the as numbers 4 and 5 listed claims are related to the diets being fed to the insured pets. Most likely numbers 2, 3 and 7 can be allocated to the diet as well and so is number 6. Maybe the insurance companies can figure out how to stop the ongoing feeding nonsense. Plus I object to feeding our pets consistently the same diet. Maybe that’s good for the insurance carriers in the short run, but they too, just like pet owners look at it with a long term view.