Seeing the Whole(istic) Picture: Petplan Pet Insurance Sees Increase in Claims – and Costs – for Alternative Treatments for Pets

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With a growing number of veterinarians taking a holistic approach to veterinary medicine, America’s No. 1 pet insurance provider highlights the benefits of outside-the-barks treatments for four-legged family members

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“Complementary and alternative treatments can be a tremendous way to help manage long-term, chronic conditions, as well as treat many different conditions,”

While it’s not unusual for pet parents to seek out the healing powers of alternative medical treatments, from acupuncture and chiropractic therapy to Chinese herbs and homeopathy, such methods are also increasingly being practiced on other family members – the four-legged, furry kind. According to No. 1-rated Petplan pet insurance, increasing numbers of pets are also finding relief through what is being collectively termed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Many of the therapies encompassed by CAM are based on the principle that resolution of an illness and injury can be achieved by treating the animal as a whole, rather than focusing on just one aspect of the disease process. Many veterinarians are increasingly using a combination of traditional Western veterinary diagnostic and treatment methods with complementary holistic modalities to improve the overall health of each pet.

Since 2009, Petplan has paid claims for alternative procedures to treat a wide range of conditions, including kidney disorders, allergies, asthma, Addison’s disease, arthritis, orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia and lameness, eye conditions such as conjunctivitis and retinal degeneration, cancers such as lymphoma and osteosarcoma, and gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and gastritis.

Along with the rising popularity of complementary treatments for pets, Petplan has also seen a rise in the costs for such care. According to Petplan claims data, from 2009 to 2012, the amount claimed per policy on these types of treatments went up by 41%, and the amount paid per claim went up by 33%.

“Complementary and alternative treatments can be a tremendous way to help manage long-term, chronic conditions, as well as treat many different conditions,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “Treatments are typically minimally invasive and can help offer relief from inflammatory conditions and other chronic illnesses, helping to improve our pets’ quality of life.”

To highlight the benefits of holistic veterinary care, Petplan offers a closer look at some of the more common types of alternative treatments for Fido and Fluffy:

  • On Pins and Needles – The Chinese have used acupuncture for centuries to treat ailments in humans and animals, inserting tiny needles at specific points to adjust the body’s energy flow (or chi). The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society was founded in 1974, and today veterinary acupuncturists use needles, heat and other methods to stimulate acupuncture points in pets.
  • Crackin’ Back – Chiropractic treatments, which aim to keep the joints and bones of the spine in a specific alignment, are not necessarily used for orthopedic conditions only, but can be used to treat a variety of conditions. It was first used on animals in the early 1900s, and today, veterinarians can become certified through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).
  • Spice It Up – For thousands of years, many Eastern cultures have looked to herbal and botanical resources to treat disease and maintain health in people and animals. Treatments utilize whole plants, oils, extracts or fresh or dried herbs, and can be administered as capsules, liquid extracts, teas or aromatherapy.

To learn more about holistic and alternative treatments, including how Petplan can help cover the costs, visit

Top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Petplan’s fully customizable dog insurance and cat insurance policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group, rated A+ by A.M. Best (2010). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit, read the Petplan Pet Insurance Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Bill Tierney
Brian Communications
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