hip dysplasia diagnosis / pet insurance - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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hip dysplasia diagnosis / pet insurance

Hi all,

Xena's WGSL and both parents' hips are certified. Still, I worried and had her hips x-rayed when she was about 2 years old and the vet said she had mild dysplasia but it probably wouldn't bother her much. The films taken are below. She based that on the fact that there's a flattened area at the tops of both femur bones.

We sent them to our breeder, who forwarded them on to a specialist. The specialist said the flat areas are supposed to be there, Xena was poorly positioned, and the person who read the x-rays probably didn't have much prior experience. I know from reading on various sites, including Leerburg, that this is common and many dogs go through unnecessary surgeries.

These were taken in January 2017, and Xena's had no health problems ... until a few days ago. She started limping after playing with another dog, and I'm thinking she probably pulled a ligament, but it seems to be on both sides. This was acute, not a gradual onset of symptoms. I've been meaning to get pet insurance and hadn't gotten around to looking into it fully, but this reminded me I really need to get on it. Someone wrote on here last year that there might be a sticky about pet insurance but I wasn't able to find it. I also can't seem to find anything from KR13, which Magwart mentioned.

Can someone provide a good link? Also, what are your opinions on the x-rays? And timing to get new ones? TIA!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 03:46 PM
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Insurance won’t likely help you with hip related issues for this dog, as it will be considered pre-existing. If you’d like to get insurance just for the myriad other issues that can pop up, I’d suggest Healthy Paws. But again, they won’t cover anything that was known or symptomatic prior to signing up with them.

My boy is mildly dysplastic. He has shallow coverage, similar to what is shown on this xray. He goes in for regular chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, and both seem to help him. I was instructed to keep him lean and active, so that’s what I do.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GypsyGhost View Post
Insurance won’t likely help you with hip related issues for this dog, as it will be considered pre-existing. If you’d like to get insurance just for the myriad other issues that can pop up, I’d suggest Healthy Paws. But again, they won’t cover anything that was known or symptomatic prior to signing up with them.

My boy is mildly dysplastic. He has shallow coverage, similar to what is shown on this xray. He goes in for regular chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, and both seem to help him. I was instructed to keep him lean and active, so that’s what I do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyGhost View Post
Insurance won’t likely help you with hip related issues for this dog, as it will be considered pre-existing. If you’d like to get insurance just for the myriad other issues that can pop up, I’d suggest Healthy Paws. But again, they won’t cover anything that was known or symptomatic prior to signing up with them.

My boy is mildly dysplastic. He has shallow coverage, similar to what is shown on this xray. He goes in for regular chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, and both seem to help him. I was instructed to keep him lean and active, so that’s what I do.
Thanks, I'll check into them. As far as pre-existing, will the insurance company pay attention if I get a second opinion, and the second opinion is that her hips are fine? Maybe she does have mild dysplasia, maybe not, but I don't want her to be penalized for a diagnosis based on an xray that wasn't done or read correctly.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by gsdforever850 View Post
Thanks, I'll check into them. As far as pre-existing, will the insurance company pay attention if I get a second opinion, and the second opinion is that her hips are fine? Maybe she does have mild dysplasia, maybe not, but I don't want her to be penalized for a diagnosis based on an xray that wasn't done or read correctly.
I don’t work in insurance, so I do not know the answer to this. My guess would be that IF she ever did develop hip problems, they’d have cause to reject claims. You can always call the companies and ask, though.

If her hips really are fine, then this will be a non-issue. It’s not like they will reject other claims that are not related to her hips just because of this xray.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 09:46 PM
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I also don't have a lot of experience with pet insurance, but from when I did look into it all of the companies I looked at won't cover "mild" HD anyway, as it usually doesn't impact a dog's quality of life at all.

That being said, as mentioned you'd definitely want to contact and confirm that in writing with any insurance company you sign up with...regarding the "current" diagnosis, whether it's right or wrong!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 10:38 PM
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I don't think you'll find insurance that covers hip dysplasia for GSD's as they consider it a genetic defect since approx. 30% of GSD's have a varying degree of HD.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 10:48 PM
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Both Trupanion and Healthy Paws cover hip dysplasia, though not as pre-existing conditions. Dunno about other plans.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 11:16 PM
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Healthy Paws is definitely covering my dog's "mild" HD as soon as he became symptomatic and started developing some arthritic degeneration as he aged -- they paid for his xrays, and they are paying for his Adequan injections indefinitely to delay the progress of the degenerative changes. The critical thing for us was that he he had no symptoms at all and had great range of motion for his whole life, up until about a year ago. Several years ago, when he was younger and we started his Healthy Paws policy, we had the vet do an ortho eval with range of motion tests, gait observations, etc. (but no xrays), along with a full wellness check up within 30 days of getting the policy, and the vet noted in the patient file that hips were healthy with no signs of any problems. That notation in the file was the key to them not being pre-existing: we set up that appointment with the vet and told him we were documenting my dog's good health for his insurance policy. That was a $50 exam fee that was well spent!


Healthy Paws does have a 1-year exclusion period for hips, and they won't cover hips in dogs who first get a policy after reaching 6 years old (but will cover dogs over 6 who've had policies in place since they were younger). The exclusion period means that after you start the policy, there's a one-year period during which your dog cannot show any signs of HD. If HD manifests during that 1-year waiting period, the hips are excluded.



It's important to realize that pre-existing conditions are determined by onset of SYMPTOMS, not diagnosis. So if your dog has symptoms of HD (i.e., a limp), it's probably over and done with already. It's in the file, they'll find it, and you should expect them to be excluded. The best thing you could do if you want to have your vet change what's in the file is ask YOUR vet to send the Xrays out to a board-certified veterinary radiologist for a report interpreting them -- it will cost $100-$200 (depending on the number of images and your vet's mark-up), but there will at least be a specialist interpretation in the file that will say yea or nea in a definitive way. You don't have to take your dog for an appointment -- the vet just sends off the digital radiographs for interpretation by the expert, and they email back the report. You cannot do this yourself though; it must be arranged through your vet. Here's an example of a service that does this -- but your vet may have someone they prefer:
https://www.lsu.edu/vetmed/veterinar...gy_service.php



There's NO CHANCE your breeder's opinion will matter the insurance company. Or the opinion of a specialist who's a friend of your breeder's. A radiology report ordered by your own vet, found in the file along with the xray, would almost certainly matter though.


For others reading this in the future, put the policy in place when the dog is healthy, before problems start, and get your vet to note the dog's healthy condition in the file about the time the policy starts. If you're getting insurance, DO NOT xray the dog "just to see" until after the policy is in place, and the 1-year exclusion period has run.

Last edited by Magwart; 11-19-2018 at 11:32 PM.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 05:08 AM
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hip insurance

would the insurance even know if you or the vet dont tell them?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dojoson41 View Post
would the insurance even know if you or the vet dont tell them?
You are required to have your vet release all medical records for your dog upon signing up, so yes. It would be fraud if you tried to skirt around the issue.
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