10/30/16

Heart Disease in Cats

Heart disease in cats occurs in more commonly than most think. It is sometimes hard to diagnose the earliest stages because there are not always symptoms that are obvious. Heart disease in cats can strike any breed or age of cat, the risk is the same for all cats. Let’s look closer at the most common forms of heart disease for cats.

For cats, there exist three primary kinds of heart disease. The cat could get restrictive, feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHCM), or dilative heart disease. The restrictive kind is the rarest of the three and happens as the wall of the heart are replaced repeatedly with scar tissue. With the FHCM, the walls get firmer and thicker. The heart’s muscular walls weaken and get thinner in the dilative kind of heart disease.

Heart disease in cats can turn serious and even fatal quickly because symptoms do not appear that early in the disease. As the symptoms do show they are often hard to see. The most usual symptoms are vomiting, a hard time breathing, little or no appetite, or opening the mouth to breathe. When the disease progresses the symptoms could be fainting, paralysis, and dying suddenly.

It takes an exam by a vet to usually find a problem with the cat’s heart. The vet could hear a heart murmur, which could be a sign that the cat is having a heart problem. A battery of test can be done that could include echocardiograms, chest x-rays, and electrocardiograms. The vets usually find that the electrocardiograms give them the most useful results.

If the heart problem is caught in time, treatment can be successful. In the event the heart of the cat is not yet failing their condition could be brought under control. Diuretics are sometimes prescribed to get rid of excess fluid and make it easier for the heart to work. In the event that the cat is suffering from the feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the vet will prescribe calcium channel blockers for making the walls of the heart less stiff.

Vasodilators are used to get the cat’s blood pressure lower. These can also lessen the heart’s workload, which is vital with any heart problem. The cat could need aspirin and betablockers as well when fighting this condition.

Heart disease can also be split into two classifications as far as congenital meaning that the cat is born with the problem, and acquired which means the cat develops later on in its life.

When the heart won’t work right, there can be a few things that might be the cause. The heart’s valves, the duties of which are to regulate the blood flow in the heart’s chambers could leak or not be able to open all the way. The muscle walls can have holes, which can even affect the major vessels and the chambers. These walls can also change or get damaged for a variety of reasons. All of this can make more or less blood be circulated through the heart and into the body, and if the problem gets bad enough the symptoms will start showing up, as in the problems breathing or even the cat fainting.

So if you suspect that you cat is having problems consult a vet immediately, because time is valuable in treating the problem of heart disease in cats.

01/14/16

Health Insurance for Dogs

To people who love their dog, pet ownership isn’t about having a little fun with a cute little puppy for as long as it holds your interest and then forgetting about it. As it becomes evident to anyone who polls dog owners for the bond they enjoy with their pet, dogs really do become a member of the family. And most people would rather deprive their children healthcare before they deprived their dogs of it.  Such dedicated dog owners don’t just take their dog to some general-purpose vet when he falls ill. They take them to specialists – orthopedic Mt Pleasant veterinarians, cardiac veterinarians or ophthalmologist veterinarians. The bills usually run into the thousands. If you can afford to pay for the treatment, specialist veterinarians can pull off near-human feats for your dog. Basically, it comes down to being able to afford it. So does health insurance for dogs make sense? Do you pay for it and then rest easy like you do with for your family?

To a dog owner the idea of being unable to pay for a health care procedure for their dog is the stuff of nightmares. So they should get the health insurance for dogs that comes specially designed for dogs’ needs, shouldn’t they? Well, it depends on how much they are willing to pay; it depends on whether they can get the right kind policy.

Sometimes, when veterinarians have to put a dog down because the owner can’t afford the $4000 bill for a spinal disc problem or $2000 for a fracture, they tell the owner that if only they had thought to buy the health insurance for dogs that’s available, their dog would completely have been covered.

But as consumer groups will tell you, health insurance for dogs isn’t that simple. Good policies cost about $300 a year. If a dog lives for 15 years, that’s thousand dollars. Who can afford that? In general, lifetime healthcare bills for your average healthy dog comes in at about $6000. That’s a lot less than you would pay for health insurance every month and then pay for whatever the health insurance doesn’t end up covering. If your pet comes down with a disease that requires long-term care, it could double your insurance bills. For your average dog that lives a healthy life, insurance doesn’t save you any money at all. You should just save up every month whatever you would pay in premiums.

Of course, insurance companies have a different argument. They feel that the “average bill for a healthy animal over its lifetime” argument hardly make sense. Who is to know what dog will be healthy and what won’t? If you do decide that you will go with insurance, you should probably make sure you shop around and ask questions of Shuler Veterinary Clinic. You want a policy where prescription drugs are covered; you want one that asks for the smallest co-pay possible and has no cap how much is paid out. You want to know also if long-term chronic problems are covered.