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Skin Allergies Revealed as Top Medical Issue

BOISE, Idaho (May 22, 2013) ­­­– As humans and their canine companions contend with a particularly severe allergy season this year, Pets Best Insurance, a leading nationwide pet insurance agency, encourages pet owners to consider the steep costs and greater health risks associated with allergies among dogs. Skin allergy issues consistently generate the highest number of insurance claims filed for dogs through Pets Best Insurance.

Environmental allergies are common among dogs, especially allergies to pollen, weeds and trees. These debilitating allergies cause dogs to experience dry, itchy skin, instead of sneezing and sniffling like humans. Chronic skin allergies can have a significant impact on a dog’s quality of life, often resulting in persistent scratching, loss of fur and a host of other serious health issues stemming from infections.

Breeds that most commonly develop such skin allergies are also some of the most popular among dog owners, including golden retrievers, boxers, Labrador retrievers, Shih Tzus and pugs.

“About 80% of dogs with skin allergies remain itchy all year. In addition to suffering from the incessant scratching, many dogs develop painful ear infections and skin yeast infections from scratching the affected areas,” said Dr. Jack Stephens, founder and president of Pets Best Insurance. “Finding a treatment to ease the dog’s suffering can be a long and expensive process. Dogs respond differently to the various options. It can take a while until a long-term solution is found.”

Dog skin allergies often represent a significant financial burden for many families, especially for those without pet insurance coverage. Diagnostic tests alone can cost more than $1,000 each, while the price of ongoing treatment and medications often totals thousands of dollars each year for allergy-afflicted dogs.

Recently, a Labrador retriever in California insured by Pets Best had to have a total ear canal ablation surgery due to a chronic ear infection resulting from the dog’s skin allergies. The veterinary bill was more than $3,000, and Pets Best Insurance reimbursed the policyholder nearly $2,500.

“Pets Best Insurance saves many of its clients thousands of dollars on expensive allergy-related treatments,” Stephens said. “We want to emphasize to dog owners that it’s imperative to obtain coverage when their pets are still puppies because pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. Skin allergies typically develop at a young age, leaving pet owners without insurance to face high-priced veterinary bills for the remainder of their pet’s life.”

Pets Best encourages dog owners to watch out for common symptoms of skin allergies, including:
Red, moist or scabbed skin;
Increased scratching;
Itchy ears and ear infections;
Snoring caused by an inflamed throat;
Paw chewing and swollen paws; and
Constant licking.

For more information about the plans offered by Pets Best Insurance, visit www.petsbest.com.

About Pets Best Insurance
Dr. Jack L. Stephens, president of Pets Best Insurance, founded pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981 with a mission to end euthanasia when pet owners couldn’t afford veterinary treatment. Dr. Stephens went on to present the first U.S. pet insurance policy to famous television dog, Lassie. Pets Best Insurance provides coverage for dogs and cats and is the only veterinarian founded and operated pet insurance company in the United States. Dr. Stephens is always available to answer questions regarding veterinarian medicine, pet health and pet insurance. Visit www.petsbest.com for more information.

Pet insurance plans offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware Insurance company. Independence American Insurance Company is a member of The IHC Group, an insurance organization composed of Independence Holding Company, a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and its operating subsidiaries. The IHC Group has been providing life, health and stop loss insurance solutions for nearly 30 years. For information on The IHC Group, visit: www.ihcgroup.com. In states in which Independence American Insurance Company’s new policy form has not yet received regulatory approval, Aetna Insurance Company of Connecticut will underwrite policies. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products. To determine the underwriter in your state, please call Pets Best at 1-866-929-3807.

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