Your 17-year-old koi didn’t come to be fed this morning. Or your beloved rosetail betta has an unusual lump near its gill. Do you have a fish vet where you can take it – and any insurance to help you with the cost?
Let’s look at where the fish vet insurance industry stands today.
The demand for fish – or aquatic – vets has grown as more people have fish as pets – and are willing to pay to keep them healthy. Today up to 400 vets can provide primary fish care, in fixed or mobile practices, and the number is growing rapidly.Fish owners are turning to these specialized vets, instead of pet store employees, for much of their care information. The question is whether the pet insurance industry has embraced this growing trend as well.
Which Companies Cover Insurance for Exotic Animals, Including Fish?
Nationwide Pet Insurance (formerly VPI) is the one company that covers unusual pets (ex. snakes, rabbits, ferrets) under its Avian & Exotic Pet Plan, but it does not cover fish. Nor does any other company that offers traditional pet insurance.However, help is available in a veterinary discount plan called Pet Assure, established in 1995.
How Does Pet Assure Work for Fish? Costs? Benefits?
Pet Assure is a quick-enroll discount program that pays 25 percent of the fish vet’s invoice for all in-house medical services and procedures (outside lab work not included). For around $10 per month per pet, it even covers pre-existing conditions, with no exceptions, caps, deductibles or waiting periods. No paperwork or reimbursement.
The only constraint is finding a vet near you that both takes Pet Assure and treats fish.This link identifies vets near you that honor a Pet Assure card, from its network of over 5,000 vets: https://www.petassure.com/search/
What Are Some Common Health Issues Faced by Fish?
All living creatures are open to disease, but fish have the added risk factor of their water environment.Changed behaviors, white spots, bulging eyes, difficult breathing or lesions could be symptoms of the following diseases, among others:
- Parasites (often white spot disease, or ‘ich’)
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Finrot from bacteria or fungi
- Fish pox (growths from fish herpes virus)
- Coral fish disease
- Ammonia or chlorine poisoning
How Much Does It Cost to Treat Health Issues for Fish?
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association)estimates $20-80 per year for routine or wellness care for fish. However, if your pet fish requires a procedure such as an x-ray, biopsy, blood sample, fecal exam, CT scan or MRI, the cost could quickly escalate into the hundreds.
Why Might Pet Insurance for Fish Make Sense?
People who have fish for pets are no less bonded to their pets than those with dogs or cats, especially – it seems – with koi. Since fish diseases can develop quickly, having the name of a fish vet readily available to you is vital, as is a plan to pay for the care you will want to provide.