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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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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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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.
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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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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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!
 

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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/veterinary_hospital/services/diagnostic_imaging/teleradiology_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.
 

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would the insurance even know if you or the vet dont tell them?

(1) Concealing a pre-existing condition would be insurance fraud. It's a felony in every state in the US. It's hard to believe any vet would participate in helping with this, as their license to practice would potentially be at stake (and no client is worth that).

(2) When reviewing the claim, the insurer gets a copy of the ENTIRE vet record from your vet, including all the handwritten observations in it. The notes typically include their observations during exams, as well as what you report to them ("my dog has a limp").

(3) If you vet hop, they'll get all the files because each vet will note that there there was someone you saw before.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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.
How old is your dog, and when did he start getting acupuncture/chiro care?
 

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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/veterinary_hospital/services/diagnostic_imaging/teleradiology_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.
Thank you so much! She started limping four days ago, but we just came back from a day trip and I didn't see any limping. I've been massaging all areas of both legs & flexing the joints but she doesn't respond like she's in any pain, and she doesn't have issues jumping into or out of the car.

The earliest I could get her in to the vet was next week, so I set up an appointment but was going to cancel if the problem resolved itself. But thanks to your always invaluable information, I'm going to keep the appointment, let them know I'm getting insurance and ask them to do whatever it is they need to do.
 

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How old is your dog, and when did he start getting acupuncture/chiro care?
He’s 4. He’s been getting regular chiropractic adjustments since he was 2, and we added acupuncture when he was 3. Acupuncture was initially done for anxiety/fear issues, but we modified that to help with his hips once he became symptomatic a few months ago.
 

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Thank you so much! She started limping four days ago, but we just came back from a day trip and I didn't see any limping. I've been massaging all areas of both legs & flexing the joints but she doesn't respond like she's in any pain, and she doesn't have issues jumping into or out of the car.

The earliest I could get her in to the vet was next week, so I set up an appointment but was going to cancel if the problem resolved itself. But thanks to your always invaluable information, I'm going to keep the appointment, let them know I'm getting insurance and ask them to do whatever it is they need to do.
I called Healthy Paws to get some more information and just wanted to pass along some more information. If your dog is less than six years old, it's okay to just send in the results of his/her latest annual exam AS LONG AS it was taken within the last 12 months before you signed up. There's also a 15-day waiting period before the policy kicks in. As far as choosing a plan, once you pick one and then submit a claim, you're locked in to that plan for however long you're with Healthy Paws. But if you choose one plan and then change your mind, you can make the switch as long as you haven't already submitted a claim.
 

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I think there is also a 1-year waiting period before they will cover hip dysplasia. And if you submit a claim for hip dysplasia, even after the 1 year waiting period, they will ask for all medical history to determine if the dysplasia is pre-existing or not.

At least, that’s what they told me.
 

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I think there is also a 1-year waiting period before they will cover hip dysplasia. And if you submit a claim for hip dysplasia, even after the 1 year waiting period, they will ask for all medical history to determine if the dysplasia is pre-existing or not.

At least, that’s what they told me.
Yep.
 

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Thank you so much! She started limping four days ago, but we just came back from a day trip and I didn't see any limping. I've been massaging all areas of both legs & flexing the joints but she doesn't respond like she's in any pain, and she doesn't have issues jumping into or out of the car.

The earliest I could get her in to the vet was next week, so I set up an appointment but was going to cancel if the problem resolved itself. But thanks to your always invaluable information, I'm going to keep the appointment, let them know I'm getting insurance and ask them to do whatever it is they need to do.
I think there is also a 1-year waiting period before they will cover hip dysplasia. And if you submit a claim for hip dysplasia, even after the 1 year waiting period, they will ask for all medical history to determine if the dysplasia is pre-existing or not.

At least, that’s what they told me.
Yeah, Magwart had mentioned that earlier so I didn't want to repeat information. And what she said about pre-existing conditions is correct, at least based on my understanding of what it says on their web site: "A pre-existing condition means that the condition first occurred or showed clinical signs or symptoms (there doesn't need to be a diagnosis) before your dog's coverage started, including waiting periods. Healthy Paws excludes pre-existing conditions from coverage as do all pet insurance companies." At 2 years old, her xray showed mild dysplasia. I still don't know if that's true, but even assuming it is, she's never shown any symptoms other than the recent limping, which I think is unrelated. So assuming she still isn't showing any symptoms by Nov. 2019, they'll cover it.
 

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Yeah, Magwart had mentioned that earlier so I didn't want to repeat information. And what she said about pre-existing conditions is correct, at least based on my understanding of what it says on their web site: "A pre-existing condition means that the condition first occurred or showed clinical signs or symptoms (there doesn't need to be a diagnosis) before your dog's coverage started, including waiting periods. Healthy Paws excludes pre-existing conditions from coverage as do all pet insurance companies." At 2 years old, her xray showed mild dysplasia. I still don't know if that's true, but even assuming it is, she's never shown any symptoms other than the recent limping, which I think is unrelated. So assuming she still isn't showing any symptoms by Nov. 2019, they'll cover it.
I hate to break it to you, but they absolutely will not cover anything related to hip dysplasia if it is noted in a chart anywhere that her xrays show she has mild hip dysplasia. It simply does not matter if she is symptomatic or not right now. If your vet said she has dysplasia, it’s not going to be covered.
 
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