Pet insurance for your cavoodle, is it worth it?
This question seems to pop up alot amongst cavoodle facebook groups and everyone always seems to have a different answer or recommendation of which pet insurance company to go with! In this article we are going to provide you with information about different pet insurances and what main health issues cavoodles suffer from so you can go off and make your own informed decision about what is right for you, your family, your budget and your new cavoodle puppy.
Just like health insurance for us humans we don’t always know what the future holds and if we will need extra cover to protect us and our family when our health deteriorates or accidents occur which might put us in hospital. The same goes with pet insurance, it's there when we need it and still there when we don’t!
Pet insurance is an insurance policy bought by us cavoodle owners to help lessen the overall costs of expensive veterinary bills. Depending on the pet insurance we pay for we can have the entire or part of the procedure covered.
No matter how careful or responsible we might like to think we are, accidents can happen or even genetic diseases may be present in our cavoodles that we don’t always know about (can occur if not breed with clear DNA tested parents).
As a cavoodle parent it is our responsibility to care for our cavoodle the best we can, this includes taking care of them when they get ill or for routine check ups and vaccinations. Veterinary procedures and treatments like x-rays, anaesthesia, antibiotics, treating fractures or infections are very hard to always predict the cost of but can add up to be thousands of dollars over time.
Research from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) found that on average dog owners will spend over $25,000 over the course of their pet’s life and the average cost of vaccinations every year for an adult dog cost between $80-$90 and for puppies between $170-200 for their initial ones and standard vet checkups costing between $50-100
According to recent data on the most common pet accident and claims, RSPCA Pet Insurance statistics show the average claim amount in FY2019 are for cancer ($3,503.74), tick paralysis ($1,156.87), diabetes ($1,952.39) and snake bites ($2,133.31), these are significant costs and would be quite a burden financially without the support of pet insurance for an average earning australian household.
See below table of common accident and illness claims from the RSPCA:
Health insurance and claims more specific to cavoodles:
To be more specific about cavoodle insurance claims Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance states that last year they paid out $767,417 for 2,993 claims for the cavoodle breed. Listing that the main health issues for cavoodles are dermatitis, abnormal faecal ( poo) appearance, Otitis externa (ear infection), Pain or distress and skin allergies, which are only very minor health claims.
Petsy insurance lists more serious health issues and claims they see with cavoodle puppies and cavoodle dogs include:
Syringomyelia: a developmental abnormality whereby there is a difference in growth between the brain size (too large) and the skull cavity (too short). This causes a partial blocking of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) along the spinal cord, causing both pain and the collection of fluid in pockets in the spinal cord and is an extremely serious condition.
Symptoms of Syringomyelia in cavoodles: includes intermittent neck pain, and reluctance in affected dogs to jump and climb. The condition may result in other neurological deficits such as weakness and poor coordination.
Diagnosis of Syringomyelia: is carried out with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and medical therapy is generally the treatment of choice.
Available medications: include anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids.
Mitral Valve Disease: a common cardiac disease affecting smaller dogs, and occurs when the valve between the two left chambers of the heart (the “mitral” valve) fails to form a tight seal, resulting in regurgitation of the blood back into the atrium.
Development of mitral valve disease in cavoodles: usually evident by a heart murmur of a low-grade severity, as well as exercise intolerance, increased respiratory rate and a cough over time.
Treatment of this condition: will depend on its severity – mild leakage with minimal to no heart enlargement may generally be monitored regularly without treatment. Dogs with heart enlargement require medication to delay the onset of the condition.
Cataracts: a disease process has occurred affecting the lens of the eye, causing the lens to lose its transparency and impairing one’s vision as a result.
Development of Cataracts in cavoodles: may progress slowly or rapidly, depending on a number of underlying factors. It is most commonly caused by inherited cataract formation, but may also develop with age. It may also be a consequence of eye infections, eye inflammation or diabetes.
Symptoms of cataracts: a bluish, grey or white layer in their eye, clumsiness, eye irritation or redness, discharge and blinking. If you suspect your dog has cataracts, consult your veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist to discuss whether surgery is right for your dog.
Hip Dysplasia: Due to their active lifestyles, hip dysplasia is not a rare occurrence in Cavoodles. Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and is the primary cause of painful hip osteoarthritis in dogs. It is usually affected by factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, improper weight and nutrition.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia for cavoodles: may show when they are as young as four months of age, whilst for others the disease may develop in conjunction with osteoarthritis as they age. These symptoms may include decreased activity, difficulty or reluctance rising, jumping or running, lameness in the hind end, loss of thigh muscle mass, pain and stiffness.
Diagnosis of Hip dysplasia: diagnosed radiographically by the presence of degenerative changes and/or subluxation of the hip joint(s).
Treatment options of Hip dysplasia for cavoodles: can include lifestyle modifications or surgery. These may include physical therapy, joint supplements or anti-inflammatory medications, or common surgeries such as double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO), femoral head ostectomy (FHO) or total hip replacement (THR).
Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation is a knee cap problem an occurs when the cavoodle’s kneecap (patella) is dislocated from its normal anatomic position in the groove of the thigh bone (femur). When the kneecap is dislocated from the groove of the thigh bone, it can only be returned to its normal position once the quadriceps muscles in the hind legs of the animal relax and lengthen.
Symptoms include: holding up their hind legs for a few minutes, limping, inability to bend the knee, will not run or jump, refusing to exercise, weak legs.
Treatments: physical rehabilitation, pain or anti-inflammatory medications, weight management or surgery.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a late onset, inherited eye disease found in cavoodles which affects the retina, which is the picture screen at the back of the eye, and causes the blood vessels of the retina to atrophy and die.
Symptoms of PRA: include dilated pupils – a ‘glow’ or increased ‘eye shine’, and the dog may appear to have difficulty seeing in the dark or dusk (“night blind”).
Treatment: There is no cure for PRA, however an eye exam by a registered Ophthalmologist will diagnose the disease. DNA testing for late consent PRA is available, and is done by taking a cheek swab by a vet.
Comparing pet insurances for your cavoodle:
According to top 10 pet insurance they have gone to the trouble of comparing 20+ available pet insurances in Australia. Finding premiums with the most expensive plan costing nearly $61.13 per month more than the cheapest – an annual difference of $733.56!
See below a table comparison of each insurance company based on quotes on 27th of May 2021, for a 6 month old, desexed, female, cavalier in postcode 2150 NSW with an owner who is 60 years old. No discounts or promo codes were applied. For each plan, the comprehensive coverage was selected (the highest level of coverage offered) and declined any supplementary benefits. Wherever possible, we selected a $0 excess.
What doesn’t pet insurance cover?
This obviously varies depending on the provider, but here are common exclusions you want to be aware of when shopping around for pet insurance for your cavoodle:
- Pre-existing conditions: conditions that your pet showed symptoms of or was diagnosed with before you got insurance.
- Bilateral conditions: This refers to pre-existing conditions that impact a body part which has two sides, for example, the eyes (left eye and right eye) or ears (left ear and right ear).
- Elective treatments: Such as de-sexing or orthodontics
- Treatment for an illness that has occurred during the mandatory waiting period
- Diseases with a known vaccine. This exclusion is designed to stop people from neglecting important vaccinations and preventative treatments (e.g. parovirus, canine cough, Hepatitis, deworming tablets). However, you may not be able to claim even if your pet is properly vaccinated and contracts the disease anyway.
- Vaccinations preventative treatments: Unless your policy includes routine cover, then things like vaccinations or flea and tick treatments may not be covered
- Conditions that stem from a behavioural issue
- Conditions that stem from breeding or pregnancy
- Grooming and cosmetic surgery
- Pet training
- Pet food or supplements
- Dental diseases: Most pet insurance providers won’t cover any dental procedures, however, some may offer additional dental cover.
- Organ transplants or artificial limb or prosthetics surgery
So, is it worth getting pet insurance for your cavoodle puppy or dog?
After looking at all the health issues the cavoodle breed can suffer from and considering that 1 in 3 pets will need emergency veterinary treatment within a given year which is quite a likely probability, it really puts into perspective how high the chances are that we will need pet insurance at one point or another! (statistic from Pet Plan.)
And for all the things that pet insurance excludes from cover, there’s plenty more that it will cover (dependent on the policy) including cancer treatments, skin conditions, eye & ear conditions, ligament conditions, ingestion of a foreign object, Gastrointestinal problems, tick paralysis, emergency boarding, essential euthanasia, x-rays, surgery, hospitalisation and more.
Maybe not all insurance policies might be right for you or your monthly budget, another option is choosing to have an emergency account with a couple thousand dollars put aside or attribute a certain amount in it each month, so if and when your cavoodle does have an accident or is in need of an emergency vet trip unexpectedly you won’t have to put yourself in financial distress.
At the end of the day it is totally your decision and what you feel more comfortable with! But at least now you have been informed of all options and costs to consider when making your final decision on pet insurance for your cavoodle.