Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

Opening Hours: Find Your Clinic

Articles

Equine Insurance – should I bother?

It’s a question that’s come up time and time again for me over the last year or two. Often, clients will explain that their horses or ponies are not worth very much money, and so they don’t think it’s worthwhile. I thought I’d put together some of the aspects to consider, and some of the questions to ask about your potential cover. I’ll also summarise some of the costs you might expect for treatment for various conditions – you might be surprised!

We always recommend you read the fine print in your policy, as this is just a guide.

 Types of Insurance cover:

- Mortality insurance.

This is a reasonably straightforward cover – if your horses dies by illness or accident, you are usually covered. They may put restrictions on what you are covered for, depending on the policy. Eg you might not have cover if the horse dies from colic if he / she has a history of colic prior to the year’s policy starting. There may also be some exclusions for very young or old horses, plus pregnancy or immediately post foaling. These type of cases can usually find cover but it’s more specialised.

One thing that may not immediately be apparent is that mortality insurance may not pay out for things you don’t want to treat and hence want to euthanase your horse. The cover usually requires a vert certificate saying that euthanasia is to relieve inhumane suffering. So – your horse puts it’s leg through a fence and has a large wound that is going to be time consuming and expensive to fix – you might not get your payout, as the insurance company can argue that you should fix it. The same can go for laminitis, tendon injuries, or colic that could response to medical or surgical treatment.

Mortality insurance usually requires a definitive cause of death, or definitive diagnosis as to why the euthanasia must happen. Ideally, you contact your insurance company before euthanasia and they will often request a post mortem to be carried out if there’s not that diagnosis. This may sound grisly but it is something that vets see all the time and can be handled with as much compassion as possible. Otherwise, you insurance may refuse the payout – up to you to decide.

This leads us nicely to..

- Vet Fees cover.

Depending on your policy, this may be a set amount for your horse, or a proportion of it’s market value. From our perspective as vets, this is the cover that provide you with most help and peace of mind. You can go ahead and get that surgery, or get the IRAP treatment for your horse’s joint problem, or the expensive diagnostics straight away if indicated. Obviously, you can also decide to put away cash for just this purpose, and your vet should always explain these gold standard options from the get go, whether you’re insured or not. It’s not our job to make judgements on your financial decisions. Equally, you might decide you don’t want to proceed with some of the options because you feel it’s unfair to your horse to do colic surgery at 19 years, or you don’t want to do 6 months of box rest with a lunatic! It’s nice to be able to make these decisions irrespective of cost though and hopefully you have a relationship with your vet based on mutual trust for the best outcome of your horse.

How much do things cost? Newer technology and advances in knowledge mean that we can successfully treat many more things than we used to be able to. These advances often have equipment that is not cheap, and so the costs have often also increased... Here are some ballparks:

Colic – medical management (on a drip, in hospital) $1000 - $4000 - surgery $4000 - $10000 not including complications. Keep in mind that speedy referral and fast start to surgery are the biggest factors in a successful surgical outcome so you’ll want to make that decision quickly, possibly unexpectedly at 2am..

Wounds – it’s often the bandaging that can go on for months, rather than the stitch up at the time, that can run up a big bill. $500 - $7000 wouldn’t be unexpected

Wounds involving joints – as soon as you need an anaesthetic and some joint flushing, the cost can skyrocket. $2500 - $12000

Joint / arthritis / tendon / foot therapies – rest, farrier and appropriate management are the cornerstone therapy for these but we now have Arthropen, IRAP, PRP, OsPhos, Tildren, shockwave and so much more, on top of the lameness workups including nerve blocks, ultrasounds, xrays, CT and scintigraphy ($2000 – 3000 alone). Your vet fee cover will often cover remedial farriery also. It can feel like the sky’s the limit with complicated lameness cases – you can easily spend $1000 - $3000 on just diagnosing the problem, let alone treating it.

Most policies will have an excess; it’s up to you to think whether you’d prefer a higher excess but also higher vet cover, depending on the premiums involved. Your teenager’s bombproof pony may not be worth a huge amount on paper, but perhaps you wouldn’t hesitate to go for surgery if the outcome looked good, as long as you could afford it? Good things to think about while there’s no crisis happening!

- Loss of Use Cover.

In my experience, this often adds up to a significant amount but is often not paid out. Depending on your policy, you may need a vert certificate to find any pre existing conditions, then it’s often quite specific as to what your use is. For example, if you just had ‘eventing’ as a use, then your horse that has tweaked a sesamoidean ligament might be fine at a lower level, but may struggle to work at 3* again. If you haven’t specified your level, you might not then get paid out.

Some loss of use policies have a different payout if the horse is euthanased, compared to just retired. Historically, loss of use horses had an ‘L’ branded on them, but that is rarely done these days. Watch out if you are looking at buying one though!!

The most important thing about loss of use is that you need to have both proven what the problem is and also treated it to see if it is likely to recover to get the payout. This will be at your expense if you don’t have the vet fees cover. So, let’s say you have a bilaterally lame dressage horse. Your vet suspects navicular but the xrays are clean – you need CT to assess all the structures involved. You’ll need to fork out the $2500 + bill for this to get a diagnosis that the flexor tendon next to the Navicular has a big tear and so your dressage horse will likely not go back to the level you’re insured for. You might have spent all your loss of use payout on diagnosing the problem.. so my advice is, always get appropriate vet fee cover if you’re getting loss of use!

Hopefully this has been of some help. It’s not our place to recommend an insurance company – we’ll always tell you to ring around to find the policy that suits you best. Here’s a few contacts to get you started, feel free to get in touch if you used another and found them good:

FMG https://www.fmg.co.nz/what-we-cover/horses/

Petplan https://www.petplan.net.nz/pet_products_insurance/equine-insurance.html

JLT https://www.jlt.co.nz/jltbloodstock

NZ Bloodstock https://www.nzb.co.nz/insurance/

Crombie Lockwood https://www.crombielockwood.co.nz/bloodstock-insurance

 

 


Arthritis

Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: General stiffness, slowing down, difficulty rising... Is it just old age? Our senior pets may show subtle signs or be quite obvious in their attempts to tell us about their problems.


Calici Virus confirmed cases in Hawkes Bay, are your rabbits vaccinated??

Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Vaccinating every year against the deadly Calici Virus is extreamly important.

We have had confirmed cases of the disease in Hawkes Bay within un-vaccinated rabbits, which unfortunately resulted in death.


Choosing your next puppy

Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Pet ownership is very rewarding but the decision should not be taken lightly as it is a long term and substantial responsibility.

When choosing your next puppy there are many things to consider; preferably a happy and healthy puppy and you should also think about the adult size and type of nature that will suit your family and lifestyle.


Ear Disease

Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Duck shooting doesn't seem to cause many concerns for our canine companions, usually only a few cuts and bruises that are insignificant compared to the enjoyment derived from the exercise.

However getting damp in water for long periods can give rise to a flare up of ear disease (otitis externa).

Some dogs seem prone to this, often due to an underlying skin allergy or just the makeup of their ear anatomy. Prolonged moisture in the ears promotes growth of yeasts and bacteria leading to irritation, inflammation and pain. This, left untreated, can lead to more serious middle ear disease that is hard to treat and deafness.


Starvation in the midst of plenty

Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Diabetes Mellitus is a disease condition where either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly and causing insulin resistance.


When to bring your working dog in to see us…in less than 24 hrs please…

Read more >Thursday 28th of March 2019: Over this busy time of year, it can be easy to overlook the working dog with the limp, or the dog that hadn't eaten last night's dinner. What can save you a lot of trouble, both in cost and lack of a worker, is knowing when your dog can wait to see us and when it needs to be seen as soon as possible.


Keeping your working dog working

Read more >Thursday 28th of March 2019: Working dogs are the hardest working and cheapest labour unit on your farm. Here are a few points to consider to ensure they are in optimal health and are able to give you their best.


Mis-Mating

Read more >Thursday 28th of March 2019: Mis-mating is always a hot topic. If this does occurs and you don't want to breed from that bitch in the future, we recommend having her speyed. Speying is a permanent solution and will not affect her working ability, saves you having to worry about her when she is on heat, and in most instances saves you money as you can reduce the amount of food you feed by about a third. If you don't want her speyed, the only other option is to abort the pregnancy. This uses a very expensive drug and is often more expensive than having her speyed. If you do want to breed from her in the future we recommend having her scanned 25 days after mating. At this point we can still give her the abortion drug. The abortion drug works best given < 21 days (99% effective) but if we scan her and she is not pregnant this will save you a lot of money. The injection given at 21-45 days is 95% effective. Give us a ring to discuss further if you have any questions.


ARTHRITIS- The biggest issue limiting working dogs performance

Read more >Thursday 28th of March 2019: This grading system is helpful to use as guide to get the most out of your working dog team. The following will be a brief description of the four grades along with their corresponding treatment options:


Stitch Up – What can you do to help?

Read more >Thursday 28th of March 2019: Unlike a surgical incision with smooth edges, a laceration is often jagged and irregular and as a result, there can be variable degrees of damage to the underlying tissue and structures depending on the depth and force of the trauma that caused the laceration.


Coughing and Wheezy Horses

Read more >Thursday 7th of March 2019: The classic âcoughing horseâ is a common sight and sound at this time of year, and often transient viral respiratory disease is to blame. But as much as we love to blame a virus, they are not always the cause!


Encysted Strongyles – Small worms, big problems

Read more >Thursday 7th of March 2019: âSmall Strongylesâ or âCyathostomesâ are the terms used for a group of over forty different species of parasites affecting horses. They tend to be the most prevalent parasite within the horsesâ gastrointestinal tract and although small, heavy burdens can result in big problems!


Stomach Ulcers and Gastroscopy

Read more >Thursday 7th of March 2019: Stomach ulcers (gastric ulcers) are a hot topic! Stomach ulceration is a somewhat confusing syndrome â the syndrome can have a multitude of clinical signs, ranging from very subtle performance issues, or picky eating, to weight loss and colic. There is also a multitude of products on the market which claim to help with ulcers, not all being equal.


Slug Bait Poisoning

Read more >Friday 30th of November 2018:


Fleas

Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: When a flea bites, its saliva causes the dog to itch. Fleas not only cause skin problems for dogs and us but can also cause other disease such as anaemia, flea allergy dermatitis and tapeworms.


Healthy Teeth

Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: Dogs, like us, have two sets of teeth during their lives. The deciduous (baby) teeth appear shortly after birth and are replaced by the permanents at around four to six months of age. Deciduous teeth cause few problems except where they are retained beyond about eight months of age. If this occurs, displacement of the erupting permanents may result.


Have you got an itchy dog?

Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: During the spring and summer months we see high numbers of dogs with itchy skin.In the past, the only way to manage atopy (itchy skin) was through medications such as steroids and antihistamines but Royal Canin nutritionists and veterinarians have developed a new Prescription Diet specially formulated to help manage environmental sensitivities in dogs.


Fleas

Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: When a flea bites, its saliva causes the dog to itch. The adult fleas you see on your dog only represent 5% of the whole flea population. Flea problems can appear to come and go. This is because the immature stages of the flea (eggs, pupae) wait in the environment for the right conditions (Warmth, humidity and stimulation) When this happens they tend to hatch all at once onto the unsuspecting animal.


Ticks

Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: Ticks live in areas of long grass and dense shrubs. They wait for animals to come along, and then grab onto their fur. Once on the animal, they find areas of thin skin and attach with cement-like saliva to feed on blood.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 - Previous | Next - Page 3 of 8
Search