Allergies are one of the most common causes of everything that can go wrong with your pet. While humans—perhaps rather hubristically—don’t generally consider the presence of food or pollen allergies as a significant cause for concern, pets can experience long-term consequences from untreated allergies since they don’t have the same agency over their feeding habits as humans do.
If you want to get pet insurance to cover your pet’s allergy medication and treatment, you’ll want to ask if the company considers allergies a pre-existing condition. Your claims might be out the window if they classify the allergy as preexisting. So, it’s hard to say a simple yes or no to this question. It’s entirely dependent on the insurance company you’re looking at.
What Are Symptoms of Allergies in Pets?
Allergies in animals are very similar to allergies in humans. Pets are susceptible to many of the same allergies that commonly affect humans, and the symptoms are often identical. Coughing, sneezing, and itching are all common symptoms of allergies in pets.
Just like in humans, allergies in pets are relatively common. They are statistically the top reason for vet visits by dogs each year. The number of cats diagnosed with allergies has increased by 11.5% in the past decade, while the number of dogs with allergies increased by 30.7% in the same time.
What Kinds of Allergies Can Pets Have?
Pets’ allergies are typically divided into two categories: environmental and food allergies. These are similar categories to the allergies humans have. Food allergies are precisely what you’d expect them to be, allergies to food your pet ingests. Environmental allergies are allergies to something present in the pet’s environment, like dust, mold, storage mites, or pollen.
While many pets suffer from food allergies, they’re not nearly as common as they are in humans. Pet owners often believe their pet has a food allergy when they have an environmental allergy.
How Do You Treat Pet Allergies? Is Testing Covered? Is Treatment Covered?
Treatments will vary based on what kind of allergies your dog has to begin with. An allergy test is the most accessible and effective way to diagnose these. While an elimination diet and observing when your pet displays allergy symptoms might be cheaper, they take more time and are less accurate than testing.
Allergy testing generally costs between $200–$400 per pet. If you have a pet insurance policy covering allergies, your insurance will usually cover this testing. Still, it’s always essential to ensure that you understand the policy guidelines and limitations. Ask your insurance company whether they cover allergy testing and treatments.
Pet allergies can typically be treated with non-invasive interventions. If your dog has food allergies, they’ll need to be put on limited-ingredient or prescription pet food to ensure they don’t get exposed to their allergens.
Some pet insurance policies may cover the cost of prescription pet food for your pet, but it’s best to ask about this in advance to ensure you’ll be covered if your pet requires prescription pet food.
If your pet has an environmental allergy, you may need to bring out the big guns of medical intervention to get your pet some relief from their symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications, including antihistamines, corticosteroids, and oral allergy medications, work well for alleviating some of their symptoms.
Shampoo therapy uses a regular bath with a hypoallergenic shampoo to relieve inflamed or itchy skin. Suppose the vet knows what allergen your pet is suffering from. In that case, they may recommend desensitization or hyposensitization therapy, which involves targeting the area of the allergen and injecting it with medication. These treatments may be covered under a plan which covers pet allergies but ask your insurance company before making any appointments.
While most pet insurance plans probably won’t cover allergy testing and treatment for your pets, some excellent programs exist. We recommend comparing all your options to determine what pet insurance is best for you and your family. If you aren’t sure if something is covered, ask your agent; their job is to help you understand your plan.
Featured Image Credit: olgagorovenko, Shutterstock