Showing posts with label dog health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dog health. Show all posts

Wednesday 26 June 2024

American insurance company Nationwide stops insuring 100,000 cats and dogs

AMERICA: I'm told by news media that Nationwide is America's largest pet insurer. And they've decided to stop insuring 100,000 pets. But read on. 

Image: The Canine Review.

It seems very bizarre because normally it is people who decide to stop insuring their pet's health because the insurance premiums are too high. This is the other side of the coin as this insurance company blamed inflation and the cost of veterinary care as two reasons why they have decided they can no longer insure pets. 

It would seem that some pets are uninsurable as far as Nationwide is concerned. It is pretty cynical because the policy concerns pets that need insurance. Nationwide want to insure health pets!

It has 100,000 pets on its books whose insurance policies are being terminated. There will be many customers who will no longer be receiving pet health insurance when their policies terminate unless they can find an alternative. Some pet owners are concerned that they won't be able to find an alternative at a suitable price.

Another problem which may be the central problem and which is not been fully clarified to me is that there have been recent underwriting changes in the insurance industry concerning Nationwide. The company feels that these changes have made it unviable to continue.

The announcement was quite sudden and made in a statement on June 14. All 100,000 policies will not be renewed at the date of their renewal. The non-renewal is not connected with the companion animal's prior claims history - they say. True or false?
'Inflation in the cost of veterinary care and other factors have led to recent underwriting changes and the withdrawal of some products in some states - difficult actions that are necessary to ensure a financially sustainable future for our pet insurance line of business.'
Overall the company says that it it insures more than a million pets - the largest in the country.


The reporting is a little confusing and I'll tell you why. Nationwide insure 1 million pets but they are dropping insurance policies on 100,000 pets which indicates that they are being selective and that the termination of these insurance policies is connected with the high level of claims made by some customers because their pets are inherently unhealthy. That's my opinion until I receive better reporting.

And this thought of mine appears to be supported by the fact that many of the affected premiums are for older pets with pre-existing conditions.

My gut feeling is this: this insurance company has decided to take strong action to improve profitability and they are achieving that by stripping out of their customer database those pets that require consistent and routine treatment because of inherited and long-term or chronic illnesses. On the face of it is a cynical move to increase profitability by being more selective in the animals that they insure.

In response, a Facebook page has been set up by disgruntled customers entitled "Dropped by Nationwide Pet Insurance Whole Wellness? Join Us!

I've applied to join the group as it is private. I've not received an acceptance as at the time of publishing this article.

As I said, I think this is a reflection on the fact that some dog breeds are inherently unhealthy such as the French Bulldog. I have boldly claimed that that dog breed is the most unhealthy of all the dog breeds with 21 different inherited illnesses. Extraordinary; right? Other bulldogs have more than the usual inherited health issues. 

Avoid extreme breeding e.g. flat-faced dogs and unnatural looking animals. Mess with anatomy and there is a price to pay - literally.

It would seem that some animals are becoming uninsurable as is the case by the way with some vehicles. Interesting correlation here because in the UK some Range Rover models are uninsurable because they're being stolen all the time forcing the manufacturer to start up their own insurance company!


Pet owners really should remind themselves that pet insurance companies are moneymaking machines. If they can't make a good profit from ensuring pets they either drop the animal from their books as is the case in the story or they put up the premiums. Either way they make more money.

It's another reminder that the best form of pet health insurance is to start your own savings account which is ring fenced. This is called self-insurance. Save $50 a month ideally before you adopt a companion animal and then when you have adopted the animal you have some savings in the bank allocated solely to treating your companion animal.

In addition, I would do your research on inherited diseases afflicting purebred dogs and cats. It's important you know about them so you can decide whether pet health insurance is necessary or a wise choice in respect of your to be adopted paired or adopted pet.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 22 April 2024

Improving your pet's gut microbiota

The health of a cat or dog's gut microbiota is important for their health. A healthy gut microbiota supports the animal's immune system. It affects the animal's hormonal system and affects general welfare. This is about good bacteria in the stomach and how it is vital to both the health of people and their companion animals. It is something that I believe cat and dog caregivers should think about both in the interests of their health and the health of their companion animal.

So how can a cat or dog caregiver improve their cat's gut microbiota? It is also referred to as "microbiome" . The word refers to the microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, that live in the digestive tracts of animals.

A balanced diet is obviously important and you can buy cat foods that feature probiotics and prebiotics in order to support the health of the animal's gut.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that help your cat's digestive system to function well and they aid overall immune function. They support vitamin production and they help to balance the good and bad bacteria within the cat's gut.

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres. They promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and act as a food for probiotics and encourage the growth and activity.

You can create a calm and pleasant environment for your companion animal which helps to reduce stress which helps to avoid a negative impact that stress can have on gut health.

You can make sure that you minimise the use of antibiotics in treating your dog or cat because antibiotics kill bacteria in the gut and therefore disrupt the gut microbiome. A veterinarian should use them judiciously but I must add that sometimes veterinarians tend to overuse antibiotics as a precaution because they sometimes can't tell whether a companion animal is suffering from a viral or bacterial infection. A cat owner should question their vet if they think antibiotics are being overprescribed.

My research indicates that a minimally processed raw or gently cooked diet is good for cat health. These diets are made from whole food ingredients.

Cats with chronic digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease should be tested for their gut health by a veterinarian. They can then decide how best to intervene.

There are some probiotic supplements on the market designed specifically for cats to support their cat health and they are listed below.

  • Purina Pro Plan FortiFlora for Cats: This liver-flavored powder contains probiotics and yeast. It’s beneficial for cats prone to diarrhea and provides extra gut support. You can sprinkle it on your cat’s food or mix it with a liquid.
  • VetriScience Laboratories Probiotic Everyday Gut Health Supplement for Cats Soft Chews: These soft chews are easy to administer and help maintain gut health. They’re suitable for daily use.
  • Pet Naturals of Vermont Daily Probiotic for Cats: A budget-friendly option, these probiotics come in chew form. They support digestive health and can be given to cats of all ages.
  • PetUltimates Probiotics for Cats: Ideal for cats dealing with constipation, this supplement promotes a healthy gut. It’s available in capsule form.
  • Fera Pet Organics Probiotics with Prebiotics: Specifically formulated for cats with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), this supplement contains both probiotics and prebiotics.
  • Purina Calming Care Veterinary Supplements: While primarily calming, this supplement also supports gut health. It’s suitable for stressed-out kitties.
  • Skout’s Honor Probiotic Deodorizer: Not only does it help with odor control, but it also contains probiotics for gut health.
  • Healthy Kidney Inc. Kidney Restore: Designed for cats with kidney disease, this supplement includes probiotics to support overall health.
  • Vital Planet Flora Cat Probiotic: Boosts immune support and maintains gut balance. Suitable for cats of all ages.
  • Nutramax Proviable-DC: Especially beneficial for kittens, this probiotic supplement supports overall digestive health.
A healthy gut microbiome is important in maintaining overall health. It helps break down complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Also beneficial bacteria produce enzymes that aid in nutrient absorption. This make sure that your companion animal receives all the nutrients that they need.

About 70% of our cat and dog's immune cells live in the gut. A well functioning microbiome help to regulate immune responses. And good bacteria prevent harmful pathogens from taking over which reduces the risk of infections.

There is a thing called the "gut-brain axis". It connects the gut and the brain. A healthy microbiome influences neurotransmitter production and mood regulation. Also, some gut bacteria produce compounds which affect stress levels, depression and anxiety.

Weight gain and loss can also be linked to certain gut microbes. A balanced microbiome help to prevent obesity as it affects metabolism and appetite regulation.

Good gut bacteria helps to prevent autoimmune responses and therefore help to prevent inflammation inside the body. It also affects the condition of the cat's coat.

Lastly, some good bacteria metabolises dietary fibres into compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels.

What I have said above applies to people and pets.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Neglect your cat or dog's allergies long enough and you can be convicted of a crime

This is a story about a dog but it could be about a cat. It is also a story about a not untypical pet health problem namely allergies through allergens in the air or in what they eat. So were talking about a typical cat or dog caregiving situation. 

And in this story which comes from Australia, a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) worker (usually mining) and his wife failed to deal with their dog's allergies to the extent where the dog lost a lot of hair and had raised lumps and thickened, cracked and flaking skin. The dog had also developed an ear infection which was possibly associated with the allergy.

We don't know what kind of allergen caused the allergy but they are difficult to deal with and this dog required veterinary treatment at an early stage and perhaps ongoing veterinary treatment. But she was found in the backyard which was covered in faeces because the wife didn't like clearing up faeces.

The neglect was reported to the RSPCA of Western Australia probably by a neighbour. The couple were taken to court where they pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable steps to prevent an animal from suffering harm. They were convicted therefore of animal cruelty and fined AU$2500 each and banned from owning any pets except for the three cats that they already had in their care.

The dog concerned, Ella, was taken off them and has been rehabilitated and rehomed. She is described as a sweetheart and everybody loved her at the RSPCA. It is hard to think about her suffering as occurred simply through a careless approach to pet caregiving and their lack of funding to deal with veterinary treatment.

The owner agreed that she had suffered with allergies her whole life. He appears to have excused himself to a certain extent by saying that the veterinary bills would have been too expensive.

Comment: what do we learn from this little story? Firstly, you got to have the money to do a good job of cat or dog caregiving. You cannot do it without sufficient funding. And that issue needs to be dealt with before you adopt a pet. It requires some seriously hard questions and answers by the person who wants to adopt a pet.

Secondly, simple neglect which might not feel like anything severe by the cat or dog owner but which becomes severe over a long period of time can be described as criminal behaviour. It'll be a sliding scale from minor neglect which would not be criminal to long-term neglect which can be and often is criminal.

Pet owners should realise that. It's a slippery slope perhaps. But there's no need to embark on that slippery slope. If a cat or dog owner faces the problem and deals with it honestly in admitting that they don't have the will or the money to care for their dog or cat properly then they should rehome the animal as soon as possible. 

They should surrender the animal ideally to an adopter of their choosing through a private arrangement as long as I know for sure that the other person is going to be a good cat or dog caregiver or through a shelter which should be of good quality and where euthanasia is a genuine last resort.

The bottom line is that this couple could have rehomed their dog years ago which would have avoided the pain and suffering she experienced. It would have also avoided their conviction for criminal behaviour and lastly, it would have eased their conscience if they have one for causing this cruelty. It required an honest self-appraisal.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Man gives CPR to dog on sidewalk and saves their life. Dog attached to bike with leash.

Man gives CPR to dog on sidewalk and saves life. Dog leash attached to bike.
Screenshot from video below.

The title and video are self-explanatory. This great guy saved the dog's life by administering CPR to the dog on the sidewalk. I think he was a stranger to the owner who appears to be the woman standing over him. I think she has a bike and was exercising her dog by attaching him/her to the bike by a leash and riding the bike which appears to have been too much for the dog who collapsed. That's my take on the video.

Never seen this before and the lesson appears to be to not leash animals to bikes. However, I think it would be wise to have a vet check out this dog for heart trouble. Just a guess. But dog breeds are famous for inheriting genetic diseases and heart disease is one of those diseases affecting some dog breeds.

The tweet reads:
This good-hearted man does CPR & saves a dog. May the Universe return him every little breath when he needs it. Please, don't leash animals to bicycles! When the dog sees his rescuer next, his joy & gratitude are worth seeing. 
P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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