In the past, many pet insurance companies refused to cover hip dysplasia even if it was diagnosed well after the purchase of pet insurance. And, some companies charged higher rates based on the breed of the dog (and cats!) and the potential that they may be predisposed for the disorder.
However, times have changed and a majority of the pet health insurance companies have incorporated hip dysplasia treatment as part of their coverage programs. With this said, each pet insurance company may offer variations in coverage and it’s important to read the fine print prior to signing up with them. Most pet insurance companies will not cover hip dysplasia if it is diagnosed as a pre-existing condition.
Companies Who Cover Hip Dysplasia
- Healthy Paws covers hip dysplasia as long as the veterinarian diagnoses the condition after the animal is already insured, and after the waiting period time has passed. Moreover, the animal must be insured before the sixth birthday to meet the coverage requirements for hip dysplasia. Read our full-review of Healthy Paws to learn more.
- Figo covers hip dysplasia under its Essential, Preferred, and Ultimate plans under "Annual Veterinary Benefits". The amount of coverage varies depending on the type of the plan. Read our full-review of Figo to learn more.
- Pets Best covers hip (and elbow) dysplasia under the “hereditary & congenital” conditions section of its accident and illness plan. Like most providers, your animal must be diagnosed with hip dysplasia from a licensed veterinarian for the company to cover this condition.
- Petplan does cover “hereditary and chronic conditions”. Hip dysplasia falls into that category, and Petplan offers coverage for the disorder. Read our full-review of Petplan to learn more.
- Trupanion covers 90% of the cost over the lifetime of the disorder and does not have a cap limit. For a dog or cat with hip dysplasia, and pet parents that aren’t concerned with the costs of standard care, this company may be a good fit.
- Petsecure doesn’t indicate that they exclude any conditions unless they are listed as “pre-existing” or that the symptoms of the disorder were reported prior to signing up with their policies. However, they do base the premium rate on the breed of the dog. The larger dog breeds that are pre-disposed to hip dysplasia will likely require higher premiums. While you have a choice of four plans, each one has a maximum cap for coverage. Read our full-review of Petsecure to learn more.
- Pets Plus Us lists in their policies that they do cover hereditary conditions. Since you can establish your own deductibles and max coverage based on the needs of your pet, their policy can assist in paying the higher costs of treatment that hip dysplasia often presents. Unlike most pet insurance companies that will continue to increase your premium rates, Pets Plus Us offers "4Life Guarantee" which will give you a locked in price for future renewals.
- PC Insurance has four plans to choose from for health coverage and each one offers a cap maximum per illness. They also estimate a policy charge based on the breed and your demographics. This means that if you have a dog breed that may be pre-disposed to hip dysplasia, you can expect that you will pay a higher rate. Each plan also has a maximum cap amount per illness. They tout that they pay up to 80% of the Veterinary costs, less the deductible.
What is Hip Dysplasia
Most often associated with dogs, hip dysplasia is a disease condition where the ball and socket joint do not properly align. As you might guess, misalignment causes the joint to grind. In healthy animals, the ball and the socket slide smoothly as the animal moves. However, animals with hip dysplasia experience misalignment which causes the joint to grind the ball and socket together. Over the long term, untreated hip dysplasia can have a dramatic impact on an animal’s ability to move and live a healthy life.
Hip dysplasia is determined by the interaction of environmental and genetic factors. It is the failure of the normal development of the hip joint, which is composed of a ball and socket. This disorder occurs in cars and dogs and some breeds are more likely to be predisposed for it. Larger, purebred, breeds such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Labrador Retrievers seem have the most occurrences and it is rarely seen in smaller dog breeds.
While the condition typically starts when a dog is young, the early onset will begin to develop at around four months of age. Later onset can occur where hip dysplasia is due to osteoarthritis. Later onset may be influenced by lifestyle factors including overfeeding and rough play.
Your veterinarian can help you spot the symptoms of hip dysplasia. In short, symptoms of hip dysplasia include an inability to walk up steps, limping, slow movement, and other signs that show strained movement.
A majority of veterinarians will recommend the use of supplements such as chondroitin with glucosamine and potentially anti-inflammatory prescription medication.
There is a downside for the medication as it can cause liver or kidney problems and will require that blood work be done every six months or so. There are some veterinarians that will also prescribe hydrotherapy, a process of relieving the stress from the hip joint with water circulation and massage techniques. When the dog is in the water, gravity is reduced and allows the reduction of stress on the hip joint area.
Cost for treatments depend upon which you select, however, if your dog has hip dysplasia the cost will increase as the disorder gets worse. Medical prescriptions and hydrotherapy can get expensive over the lifetime of an animal.