Monday, 29 November 2021

Does pet insurance cover your purebred dog for hereditary, breed-specific conditions?

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Many purebred dogs – and sometimes even mixed breed dogs – are prone to specific abnormalities or conditions which may be genetic or hereditary in nature. These breed-specific health conditions are usually only detected with veterinary screening, and often only manifest later in life and with varying degrees of frequency and severity. It’s also possible that some of these hereditary conditions may never manifest at all!

Some genetic conditions may be quite common – such as hip dysplasia and skin allergies - whereas some conditions can be more serious - such as certain cancers.

For example, Labradors are prone to hip dysplasia, joint disease and retinal atrophy, as well as weight gain if under-exercised. German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy which causes progressive paralysis. Basset hounds with their droopy eyes and loose skin are prone to vision problems and ear infections and require regular inspection and cleaning. Deafness is a common hereditary defect in Dalmatians while Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to eye disorders, including cataracts and glaucoma. 

“The point is, when considering a dog or puppy to love and introduce to your family, be aware of the health lines of the breed, take steps to mitigate the potential for such conditions to manifest through diet, exercise, grooming and regular veterinary care and health check-ups to spot any potential health challenges early on. Most crucially, make sure you have comprehensive pet insurance that helps you pay for any unexpected veterinary costs that may be coming down the line. No one knows what the future holds – pet insurance gives you the peace of mind that if and when your beloved pet needs medical care, your first thoughts can be about their care, not your budget,” explains Candice Hobday, a director of ARCO360, an equine and pet insurance brokerage offering GENRIC Pet Insurance.

GENRIC Pet Insurance offers affordable plans that cover pretty much everything from head to tail and is designed to cover the unexpected accidents and illnesses that your pet may experience in their lifetime and that you simply cannot plan for. Coverage includes emergencies, hereditary or congenital conditions, cancer and chronic conditions. 

“Unlike many other pet insurance offerings, GENRIC Pet Insurance does not apply exclusions to hereditary or breed-specific conditions, as long as these conditions do not already exist at the time of the inception of the policy – which is then known as a pre-existing condition. Pets are eligible for coverage so long as the signs and symptoms of any condition – whether hereditary or even congenital - manifest after enrolling, including any applicable waiting periods. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to get cover in place while your pet is young and healthy, and not wait until things go wrong and you find yourself in a financial and emotional dilemma,” explains Candice.

What is the difference between hereditary, congenital and pre-existing conditions? 

When choosing medical insurance for your pets, it’s important that you understand these terms and conditions.

  • Pre-existing and congenital conditions: This is any condition, disease or musculoskeletal issue that occurred before inception of the policy and could not be resolved. If your dog broke its leg previously – a pre-existing condition - this would result only in a temporary exclusion and will be lifted once your pet is fully recovered and given a clean bill of health on the broken leg. It may also be congenital – something which your pet has had from birth. This may result in a permanent or temporary exclusion on your policy, depending on the problem. For example – if your dog was born with a cleft palate - a congenital condition - this would be permanently excluded.
  • Genetically predisposed (also known as hereditary) conditions: These are issues that are found to occur in breed-specific dogs. GENRIC Pet Insurance does not exclude any hereditary conditions from cover – as this really defeats the point of having the cover - so long as they have not manifested prior to inception of cover. Another really important reason to get cover in place early!

“With the escalating veterinary costs, pet insurance is becoming an invaluable safety net and must-have for your fur-kids. Ideally you want a comprehensive and affordable pet insurance product that is simple to understand with minimum exclusions. The important caveat is that you have cover in place from as early as possible and before any conditions or health conditions occur to avoid the exclusion of any pre-existing conditions from cover. Your pet is part of the family, so make sure that you have the means to take care of or any unexpected veterinary bills, ensuring their access to the best veterinary care and a return to full health,” concludes Candice.

GENRIC Pet Insurance is not a pet medical aid.

T’s and C’s apply. For more information visit https://genricpet.co.za/or www.arco360.co.za

GENRIC Pet Insurance is underwritten and administered by GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (43638).  GENRIC Insurance Company Limited is an authorised Financial Services Provider and licensed non-life insurer. Please note that Candice Hobday is not additionally remunerated nor does this article constitute as financial advice.