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Once an Australian Shepherd lover, always an Australian Shepherd lover. This athletic, energetic, and intelligent dog breed gives its people countless reasons to adore them. Though they have herding in their genes, they’re glad to partake in whatever athletic activity you’re doing.
Unfortunately, like with most dogs, the Australian Shepherd breed is predisposed to certain medical conditions. While these health issues can be expensive to treat, you may be able to cover the high costs if you invest in pet insurance for your dog early.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the right pet insurance plan for your beloved Aussie. This guide will help you select a plan that covers everything you want it to, so you can be there for your dog when they need you most.
Compare The Top 9 Pet Insurance Plans for Your Australian Shepherd Using our Free No-Obligation Quote Tool below
The simplest way to compare pet insurance prices is to use our tool below. The comparison tool will show you quotes from the top 9 pet insurance carriers, including Trupanion, Pets Best, Lemonade, ManyPets, FIGO, HealthyPaws, Prudent Pet, Spot, and Embrace pet insurance.
How Much Does Pet Insurance for an Australian Shepherd Cost?
Below are some sample pet insurance plans for a 1-year-old male Australian Shepherd using the zip code 75001 (Texas) as an example.
Ultimately, your plan’s premium will depend on several factors, including your dog’s age, size, and breed, as well as where you live. You also want to know what type of coverage your plan has and if it will help with Australian Shepherd-specific health problems. Let’s get more into those medical conditions and how much you can expect to pay to treat them.
Common Health Problems Associated With Australian Shepherds
Elbow Dysplasia in Australian Shepherds
The term elbow dysplasia represents several defects relating to the elbow socket. This condition occurs when the three bones making up the elbow joint don’t properly fit together, causing progressive arthritis and pain.
Elbow dysplasia can be difficult to detect initially because some dogs don’t appear to show symptoms. In others, it may manifest as a slight limp or lameness in the limbs.
RELATED: Dysplasia – A Vet Shares Ways to Ease the Pain
Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS) in Australian Shepherds
This genetic mutation affects the dog’s blood-brain barrier. A Shepherd with Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS) is unable to pump certain drugs out of his brain, which causes neurological toxicity. Whether the affected dog reacts to the drug depends on the dosage, but reactions to commonly prescribed veterinary drugs can be severe.
These medications dogs with MDS have hypersensitivity to include:
- Ivermectin (found in heartworm medications)
- Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment drugs like Doxorubicin and Vinblastine
- Imodium A-D
- Anesthetics like Acepromazine (Ace)
Sadly, MDS is fairly common in Australian Shepherds. As many as one in two Aussies carry at least one copy of this gene. Puppies of dogs known to have been bred with the gene should be tested for their safety.
Hemangiosarcoma in Australian Shepherds
Hemangiosarcoma, a type of bleeding tumor, is one of two inherited cancers in the Australian Shepherd. Tumors most commonly form in the dog’s spleen, but they can appear in other organs, too, including the heart and liver.
With hemangiosarcoma, the tumors break open, causing internal bleeding. Symptoms will depend on which organs are affected, but dogs with the condition can experience collapse and even death. Treatment depends on the location of the tumors, but sadly, the prognosis is often poor.
Idiopathic Epilepsy in Australian Shepherds
Idiopathic epilepsy is a notable concern in Australian Shepherds. Epilepsy is a neurological (brain) disorder that results in ongoing seizures. Idiopathic Epilepsy refers to epilepsy with no known cause.
Seizures are surges of electrical activity in the brain that cause involuntary spasms, tremors, or convulsions. In some cases, dogs with epilepsy may collapse or lose consciousness. Another possibility is urination or defecation.
Typical Costs Of Treating Health Issues In Australian Shepherds and How Pet Insurance Can Help
If left untreated, many of the health conditions listed above can result in long-term consequences and even require surgery, which ultimately makes them more expensive to manage. Selecting a pet insurance plan suited for your Australian Shepherd’s particular needs might save you tons of money on medical costs.
Here are just some sample veterinary expenses for Australian Shepherds:
- Elbow Dysplasia Costs: Orthopedic surgery to correct the issue is pricey, ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 on average. Depending on the severity of the condition, your dog may not need surgery. Still, treatment for arthritis and other joint issues can be expensive. Your dog will likely require ongoing pain medications (~$20 – $50 per month) and joint supplements. The vet may also prescribe physical therapy, which could cost $50 per session.
- Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS) Costs: Testing your dog to determine whether they have MDS will let you know if you have to avoid the known dangerous drugs, thereby avoiding serious injury or death. A test will cost you around $45. If your dog does take a drug they’re hypersensitive to, the effects can vary but might be severe and require immediate medical intervention. An overnight stay at the vet averages $1,200.
- Hemangiosarcoma Costs: This is a tough one to discuss since this particular form of cancer is very aggressive, and treatment is not always successful. Diagnosis, which often doesn’t occur until late stages of the disease, may cost $500-$5,000. Surgery (if possible) costs thousands of dollars, and post-operative costs are also very high. Bills for both standard chemotherapy and metronomic therapy range from $500 to $3,000 per month. These costs are obviously very high, and many parents opt for sympathetic euthanasia to alleviate suffering. However, it’s hard to let your dog go if there may be a chance for them (your vet will know), so you’ll definitely need pet insurance’s help covering these costs.
- Idiopathic Epilepsy Costs: Epilepsy treatments range based on the seriousness of the condition. The vet will typically conduct laboratory tests such as blood and urine tests or EKGs (according to the severity of seizures). Treatment could involve a special diet, long-term or permanent medication, and nerve stimulation. Ultimately, the goal of epilepsy treatment is to decrease the frequency, severity, and duration of the seizures. In simple cases, this treatment plan may cost you $200 to $500 per year. However, you could pay up to $15,000 in surgery costs in extreme cases.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of these conditions common in Australian Shepherds can help you catch them early, saving your dog and your money. When in doubt, take your pup to the vet to have them diagnosed.
What Is Pet Health Insurance And Why Do I Need It For My Australian Shepherd?
Pet health insurance works very similarly to human health insurance. Your policy quote will range in monthly price, depending on your dog’s breed, age, and where you live. Typically, you’ll spend around $15-$69 per month as a pet parent.
Pet insurance is mainly about peace of mind, knowing you won’t be totally overwhelmed in case of an emergency. Enrolling even when your dog is young and healthy will ensure you have plenty of coverage when they need expensive medical care later. If you choose a plan more suited to your dog’s particular breed, you’ll be more prepared when something happens later on in their life.
Some plans cover accidents and illnesses, while others only cover accidents. Certain plans do cover breed-specific illnesses, and others do not. It all depends on what type of coverage you choose. With our free pet insurance comparison tool, you can get quotes from multiple insurance companies with no obligation to commit.
Whatever plan you choose, you’ll feel better knowing you can take care of your dog when they need you most. Plus, you won’t have to suddenly shell out thousands of dollars. Learn more about how pet insurance works here.
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