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Petsecure Tails is our customer e-newsletter that is sent out monthly across Canada.

Video: Petsecure kept my family together


"Petsecure was very good. It was very quick. It’s good to know that the bills will be covered if anything comes up. We’ve had dogs without insurance before and know how the bills can run up, so there’s always a chance something could happen."


In 2015, Petsecure visited vet clinics across Canada. We surprised pet owners by helping to pay their vet bills. To date, our Pay it Forward campaign has paid approximately $10,000 in vet bills to help pet owners in need.


Petsecure helped when it was needed the most

“We had Emma for two years when one day she got sick. It turned out to be a stomach bug of some kind but it made us really concerned. Had the vet bill been high, I just don't know how we could have paid it or picked the number of how much to spend before we couldn't spend any more.
We chose to get pet insurance from Petsecure because of their great reviews and flexible plan options. Just two weeks later, Emma was attacked by another dog at the park. She required surgery, medication and 24-hour care. Petsecure direct deposited my claim before I had even paid for my first month of insurance. Emma is happy and healthy again! Thanks, Petsecure!”

Crossfield, AB

"It is really exciting to see more and more clients choosing health insurance for their pets. In emergency situations it is such a relief for people to not have to deal with having to figure out how to pay for the medical care on top of the stress of dealing with the injury to their pet. To not have to compromise treatment due to financial constraints is the biggest benefit for my clients both in times of crisis and for the management of ongoing medical conditions. I have found Petsecure to be an excellent and straightforward company to deal with, for both my staff and clients.”

Dr. Carey Keith
Central Animal Hospital, Vernon BC

"As a clinic staff member and pet owner with Petsecure insurance, pet insurance gives me comfort knowing that I can do anything I need for my fur babies. I strongly feel that insurance is always needed and great to have.”

Sarah Moore, Montrose Pet Clinic
Beaumont, AB

The Timlick family of Winnipeg signed up for a free six-week trial of Petsecure pet health insurance for their dog Oscar, and when Oscar broke his leg, Petsecure came through and covered 80% of Oscar's vet bills.

My 13-year-old border collie Maddie has Secure 4 coverage with Petsecure. I’ve had to use it over the past years, but in the last 7 months the insurance has been a blessing. In February, Maddie developed pancreatitis which was found to be related to diabetes. In a matter of 10 days she was found to be blind and hopefully surgery would help correct this issue for her. She had the surgery in April and in the past weeks has regained her eye sight and is back to her old self...

We received a beautiful letter and photo from a customer about how pet insurance helped her little dog. We're so glad we were able to help make their lives easier when they needed it most.

"I just wanted to say thank you so very much for paying the vet bills for my little Jewel...

@Petsecure helped pay for me to get 5 teeth out and I'm still smiling! Love Bon Bon age 11.

 - Jane, Ontario via Twitter

"Once again, blown away by the amazing service from Petsecure! Thank you so much to Kirsten G. who helped me out with my claim tonight. I wish more businesses would provide the caring and genuine customer service that your team provides."

- John, Ontario

Thank you so much to a wonderful and trustworthy company @petsecure. They are the reason I was able to afford Oliver's many medical needs including eye surgeries. Anyone out there with a new (or old!) furry companion should seriously consider getting pet insurance through Petsecure. It saves you from making a financial decision as opposed to what is in the best interest of your animal.

-@mckeanh via Instagram.

Many people purchase pet health insurance to reduce the cost of veterinary treatment, but for some veterinarians, having Petsecure coverage has been a lifesaver for their own pets.

That was the case for Dr. Willow Hope of Kamloops, BC, who chose a Secure 3 plan for her dachshund Askum when he was a puppy.

"As a veterinarian, I can handle the basics like wellness and minor illness, and even some major expenses," says Willow. "However, there are many other injuries and illnesses that occur over a pet's life where they need to see a specialist. I view my pets as my family and I would do anything to help them — even if it means living out of my car and eating Kraft dinner — so my reasoning was I wanted him to have coverage for the big things."

Our 1 millionth pet

Petsecure has now insured 1 million pets across Canada in its 25-year history. The 1 millionth pet insured is Zoe, a Corgi cross and autistic service dog from Chilliwack, B.C.

Zoe's owner James Pernitsky recently adopted her and through Petsecure's Adoptsecure program received a six-week trial of pet health insurance. As the 1 millionth pet insured by Petsecure, Zoe and her owner will receive one year of free pet health insurance.


"I'm so thankful to all the vets, staff and friends that helped Mishka and me through his illness. I also want to thank Petsecure for the fact that I didn't have to worry about treatment costs on top of the stress of his illness."

-Louise, British Columbia
Petsecure customer for 2 years


 "After finding gave me the peace of out the cost for Mowgli's treatment would be approximately $4,000 per knee, I called Petsecure right away. They offered to perform a pre-approval screening and classified it as a rush due to the timing of Mowgli's appointment. I received a call within hours to inform me I'm eligible to claim both surgeries and to give Mowgli a hug on their behalf. Amazing service! Not sure what I would do if I didn't have insurance with Petsecure!"

- Leigh-Ann, ON
Petsecure customer for 1 years


 "Petsecure gave me the peace of mind to know that whatever Yoshi needed, I would be able to handle and he would be able to get. Petsecure is worth every penny. No responsible pet owner should be without it. Thank you guys. You saved his adorable life."

-Yusuf, Ontario
Petsecure customer for 2 years

 "Kitten turned up in our yard in 2009 when we were living in Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. She's now very happy and settled in Courtenay, BC. She is even happier that the cost of her recent dental work was partially covered by Petsecure pet health insurance!

-Gill, BC
Petsecure customer for 2.5 years


"Our boy Reebok just recently ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his rear leg. We took him to the hospital and we were told he needed Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to repair. One phone call to you folks is all it took and you made the calls to the hospital and sent them the forms needed for direct payment. Thank you, Petsecure, for the awesome job and for the very fast service. I highly recommend anyone with a pet to get insurance for them as I now know what the costs can be. If you get pet insurance from Petsecure, you have proven to me that you care!"

Howard, ON


Vet Answers

Are my pets going to be OK in the hot summer weather? What do I need to look out for to keep them safe?

Extreme heat can be dangerous to dogs and cats, just as it is with people. Since summer is most people’s favourite season to be outside, that means a lot of playtime with pets. While it’s great to get outside and have fun, there are some things that need to be taken into consideration.



Vet Answers

Are tick collars toxic for white dogs?


I love being outside with my dog, Maisey, but I hate ticks. They are not just creepy-crawly. Ticks can spread serious infections like Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis-in people and animals!

Tick control is becoming more and more important across Canada during the summer months as we seen an increase in these tick-borne diseases. Pet parents can use topical droplets that are deposited over the shoulders, collars, or foam products on cats and dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors in tall grass and brush. Manual removal with “tick twisters” or gloved hands is also acceptable for many pets, especially if you only see a few ticks a season.


The First Visit

Congratulations on your new puppy or kitten!  Having a little furball in the house can be the best entertainment ever, and now you can load your own adorable videos onto Facebook and YouTube.  Before you start filming, I would ask you do one quick thing with your smartphone.  Phone your vet.


Puppies and kittens benefit from early check-ups, but the real winners are pet parents.  Your veterinary staff is the expert source when it comes to recommendations concerning your new addition to the family.  Even seasoned pet owners can gain insight into their new puppy or kitten’s care and well-being.  Although I have treated thousands of young pets throughout my career, I sought the advice of my own colleagues when my dog, Maisey, was a puppy.  Half the fun is getting to know a new and darling personality and learning more about a particular breed or breed type in the process.  While the internet can overwhelm us with general information, your doctor will distill those facts into pearls of wisdom tailored to your individual pet.


Keeping Our Cats Healthy

I have a confession to make:  I don’t have a cat in my home.  Instead, I have a Weimaraner and two family members with severe feline allergies.  Brief visits to the animal hospital to bring me lunch result in loved ones with runny eyes and sneezing fits.  I adore my clan, but I do miss the presence of a cat surveying our kingdom from the top of a kitty condo or flopping across my computer keyboard.  I look forward to my clinic days, so I can get my “feline fix”.


The popularity of cats as a household pet has risen in the last twenty years, and we now have over ten million owned cats in Canada.  Kittens are fluffy and mischievous; adults are independent and mysterious.  Unless they want attention-at which point, they weave in and out of your legs, climb on your shoulder, and curl up in your lap. Cats are great for older folks looking for company and adapt well to children of all ages.  They are often welcome in townhouses and apartments when dogs and other pets are not.   Many folks love their kitty’s quirks and consider the cat to be the perfect pet.


Yet, we often take feline healthcare for granted.  Families and even veterinarians can be guilty of assuming adult cats are healthy unless showing obvious signs of sickness.  We ensure that kittens get their first vaccine boosters and are spayed or neutered before they are six months old.  Because we keep our cats safely indoors, we do not worry about identifying them with microchips and ID tags or vaccinating them later in life.  We keep their bowls full of dry food, so that they never go hungry.  They eat fine, so we do not worry about dental problems.  We clean the litter box a couple of times a week, because we love our cats but hate their “smells”.  Many pet owners do not even realize cats are prone to illness. 



February is Pet Dental Health Month

Don’t ignore your pet’s bad breath!

Just like us, our pet’s teeth and gums are susceptible to the same oral health problems that can cause other health issues. Did you know that 70% of cats and dogs over the age of three years develop some form of dental disease? Did you also know that good dental health can extend your pet’s life for several years?


All Petsecure plans include dental care. In 2013, we paid over 4,000 claims related to dental illnesses and accidents for our dogs and cats. Your dental coverage also applies to routine dental cleanings, so book a visit with your vet today!


Be sure to check your online Customer Portal or call our Customer Care Centre at 1-800-268-1169 for more information about the dental coverage on your Petsecure plan.


An Exclusive offer for Petsecure customers!!

Get 1 year of Modern Dog magazine for $10 (quarterly magazine) www.moderndogmagazine.com/petsecure-10-special-offer
or Get 2 years of Modern Cat magazine for $10 (semi annual magazine) www.moderncat.com/petsecure-10-special-offer

Take advantage of this offer for yourself, or give as the perfect holiday gift for the dog and cat lovers in your life. Limited-time exclusive offer.


Pet Cancer Awareness Month - Lumps, Bumps, and Sores

My dog, Maisey, adores being cuddled and petted.  She knows I love her, and I get to check her over without her realizing that she is being examined.  Checking her for lumps, bumps, and sores is one way to detect early signs of skin cancer.  Let’s talk about some of the more serious types of skin cancer diagnosed in cats and dogs.


Maisey has a medium coat, so looking for skin masses is pretty straightforward. Dogs with thicker hair or double-coats are more challenging to examine.  When examining your dog or cat, use the pads of your fingers to run through the coat right at the level of the skin surface.  Separate the coat with both hands as you look for changes in skin colour, sores, and raised areas.  Have you noticed any changes in old pigmented coloured spots or freckles?  White and light-skinned pets may be more prone to cancers, especially around the ears and




What does Thanksgiving mean to you?   Are you cooking all weekend, baking pumpkin pies, and spending time with family?  Is it a day to spend extra time walking your dog through crackling dry leaves?  Do you curl up with your cat under a favourite blanket and start the novel that you’ve been meaning to read all summer?  Or do you give back to your community by working with your favourite volunteer organization or charitable cause? 


Charities come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Charity Intelligence Canada offer insight into the way charities use donations to further their causes.  Categories include at-risk youth, homeless people, education, health, women’s issues, helping children, and animal welfare.  The Canadian Revenue Agency lists 839 charities under the search heading of “Protection of Animals”. 


Animal-based charitable organizations can raise money for the protection of endangered species, wild animal welfare, veterinary research to improve the health of animals, and the protection of dogs and cats right here in Canada.  Look at a group’s mission statement and ultimate goals to ensure that they are ethical and their values align with your own.  If you contribute with a financial donation, how much of your money is going directly to the animal; how much is going to administration and fund-raising?  The British Columbia SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Nova Scotia SPCA both report over 70% of donated funds go toward their animal operations. These charities have been named in Money Sense magazine as two of the top-rated charitable organizations in Canada. 


September is Pet Health Insurance Month!

Petsecure is holding a clinic decorating contest this year, so if you happen to be in your vet’s clinic during the month of September, you may notice decorations strewn about!


Pet Health Insurance Month was started by NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), of whom Petsecure is a member. Our representatives across Canada meet a variety of people who have never heard of pet health insurance before, and don’t know where to start. Our goal this month is to really raise awareness on what pet health insurance is with the participation of many vet clinics.

We have relationships with many wonderful veterinarians and vet clinics that understand and value the importance of pet health insurance. Your veterinarian is a great source for information, and they can provide you with information on pet health insurance options available.


The clinics taking part in the Pet Health Insurance Month contest will be decorating their waiting rooms to promote and increase awareness of pet health insurance. Two winners – one from Western Canada and one from Eastern Canada – will be selected by Petsecure. Each winning clinic will win a $300 Visa gift card to use for a luncheon/night out with their staff, plus a feature video showcasing their clinic (approx. $4,000 value).


Lions and Tigers and Bears...Oh My! – By Dr. Colleen

Okay, well, how about skunks and deer and raccoons?  Spending time out of doors hiking and camping with your favourite canine companion is great way to spend your summer vacation.  The thing about Canadian forests, hillsides, lakefronts, and ocean beaches is that they are teeming with wildlife.  Most animals will steer clear of humans and dogs, but we do need to be mindful of the possibility of dangerous encounters when we are travelling through their “backyard”.  Check with the regional conservation or natural resources office for advice about hiking and camping in specific locales.


The first consideration is knowing your dog and understanding any deficits in their obedience during times of high excitement.  Not all dogs will return to their owners when they scent a deer or see a fleeing rabbit; nor should they be expected to recall if they aren’t used to other animals.  And that’s okay.  Just be honest with yourself and your dog.  My old German Shepherd SPCA Special, Walter, would be out of his mind with the over-stimulation of smelling different creatures on our hikes.  The very easy solution was a flexi-lead leash that allowed me to run the trails of Riding Mountain National Park while he sniffed and investigated alongside of me.  We had a great rhythm that worked for both of us, and I never had to worry about losing him in the woods or across a busy highway.  My present dog, Maisey has been trained for hunting, so she is a lot more comfortable in the forest and recalls on immediate command in the presence of a deer or other wildlife.  I must admit it’s handy that she’s a pointer and tends to freeze when she detects other animals.


Thunderstorm Phobias

Summer in Canada so far has been a real mix of above average and below average temperatures depending on where you live.  Many folks will blame global warming for our unpredictable weather, but regardless of the cause, we have certainly seen our share of thunderstorms in some parts of the country.  And my dog doesn’t like them one bit.  How about yours?  Does your dog become anxious and snuggle up against you when she sees a flash of lightning?  Does she try and escape through a plate glass window in terror when she hears the boom of thunder?


True thunderstorm phobias can be debilitating for both dogs and their owners.  A phobia may be defined as an excessive and irrational response to stimuli that are dysfunctional and disruptive to normal functioning.  These dogs are more than just anxious.  They are drooling, shaking, and howling while frantically digging their way through your carpet or making themselves as small as possible in the corner of your bathroom. 


There are a number of factors that can influence the development of this phobia in the canine patient.  Herding breeds are over-represented when we look at the types of dogs who suffer from this condition, so there does appear to be a genetic component.  Canine storm phobia appears to be more complex than other types of fear-related disorders, because there are multiple triggers that influence an individual dog at the same time.  Veterinary behaviourists feel that the phobia is more than a severe reaction to loud noises.  Some of these dogs may be acutely sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure, static electricity in the air, and/or the smell of ozone produced by lightning.  They can predict storms well before we humans notice the changes in our environment that signal oncoming weather changes.  Further studies need to be performed to determine the significance of each of these entities and its effect for storm phobic dogs.


Dry Eye

Have you ever experienced a runny nose while watching a tear-jerker on Netflix?  Congratulations, your lacrimal system is working well to produce tears and flush your eyes and nasal passages.  Dogs and cats tend to get bored and fall asleep during mushy movies, so how can we tell if they’re having problems related to tear production?


Tears help flush dust and germs from the eyes to keep the corneas moist and clean.  Important nutrients are supplied to the eye surface.  Aqueous tears are produced by two lacrimal glands positioned above the eye and within the gland of the third eyelid (also known as the nictitating membrane) in dogs and cats.  Normally tears are flushed through small ducts in the upper and lower eyelids and pass into the back of the nasal passages and throat (hence the runny nose when we cry).


When a pet has a problem with tear production, we can see the development of a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye.  Let’s break down the medical term: “kerat(o)” refers to the cornea; “conjuntiv(a)” to the mucous membranes of the eyelids; “itis” relates to inflammation; and “sicca” means “dry”.  Veterinarians call it KCS for short, because even we get our tongues twisted as we say the words aloud. 


Spring Parasite Testing

I have a confession to make.  I hate worms.  After more than twenty years in practice, I still find intestinal worms and other larva-type living creatures yucky.  Yucky is the scientific term for gross-just in case you were wondering.  Besides the whole “parasites are yucky” thing, we do need to keep in mind the health concerns internal parasites can cause for our cats and dogs.  At this time of year, pet owners across the country will be receiving notices from their veterinarians to make appointments for spring health checks.  Depending on where you live in Canada, recommendations may recommend testing fecal and blood samples for different types of parasites.  What is your doctor looking for?


Stool samples can detect intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and one-celled organisms called protozoa.  Dogs and cats become infected with these worms by ingesting larvated eggs in the environment contaminated with animal feces or by eating larvae-infected small animals.  These larvae work their way through the pet’s body; the larvae can become encysted in the soft tissues of cats and dogs, while the adult worms migrate to the gastrointestinal tract.  Infective protozoa develop and mature within the intestines.  Depending on the parasite species present, pets may show a variety of signs from diarrhea to vomiting to weight loss and anemia.  In many cases, clinical signs are absent.  The fecal flotation test is a great screening test looking for eggs and protozoa like Giardia and coccidia but can produce falsely negative results.  If your pet is actually sick, the veterinarian may discuss further testing to evaluate the presence of worms and protozoa.


Hypothyroidism in Dogs

The thyroid gland may be considered a centre of communication and balance within the body.  The function of the thyroid gland is to secrete hormones that influence all sorts of internal reactions within the body.  These reactions serve to ensure that the body’s internal systems are working together to optimize metabolism and health.  What happens when things go awry?


The thyroid gland produces a substance known as thyroglobulin that converts into the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) found in the bloodstream and in tissues.  These hormones help to control the metabolic rate in virtually every cell in the body.  The thyroid gland itself relies on the pituitary gland in the brain to tell it how much active thyroid hormone the body needs at any one time.


Hypothyroidism refers to a condition where the levels of thyroid hormone are too low to maintain this vital balance.  It is one of the most common hormonal diseases seen in dogs.  Although we can see congenital disease or nutritional iodine deficiencies causing hypothyroidism, the vast majority of cases in dogs are related to two major causes.  The immune system can produce antibodies in abnormal amounts which destroy the individual thyroid cells in a condition known as lymphocytic thyroiditis.  We can also see an idiopathic form where these antibody levels are normal in the face of thyroid gland atrophy.  The idiopathic form is thought to be the end-stage of the immune-mediated disease.


Growth Problems of the Hip Joint

The hips may be considered the most flexible joints in the body.  Hind legs can swing forward, backward, in and out.  The hips help dogs and cats run at full speed, stop on a dime, and shoot back at a different angle during exercise, play, and work.  What happens when hips do not develop properly in young puppies and kittens?


Many pet parents have heard of hip dysplasia.  Hip dysplasia is associated with growing large and giant breed dogs.  The head of the femur (ball shaped area at the top of the thigh bone) does not sit properly in the acetabulum (socket of the pelvic bones), because the acetabulum does not mature to be deep enough for the head of the femur to move appropriately in all of those different directions.  Depending on the state of the joint, the dog may show severe lameness as early as two to three months or not have significant problems until a mature adult.  Hip dysplasia is diagnosed based on a physical examination and radiographs of the hip joints.  It is clinically graded on a scale of 1 to 4 based on the depth of the acetabulum, the shape of the femoral head, and signs of secondary changes.  Loss of cartilage and the appearance of bone spurs are related to the inflammation created by the friction associated with the movement through the abnormal joint.  We classify these pets as having a form of arthritis which in many cases is a major cause of discomfort and pain outside any awkwardness in their gait.  The appearance of secondary changes on x-rays does not always correlate with the degree of discomfort we see in our pets.  Some pets with horrible-looking hips may tolerate their disease quite well with minimal gait abnormalities and pain-especially early in their lives.


Genetics appear to play an important part in the development of hip dysplasia but the relationship is a complex one.  The condition may “skip” several generations, and the most conscientious of purebred dog breeders may occasionally have litters with affected pups.  Until we fully understand the heredity of hip dysplasia, veterinarians generally recommend breeding only those dogs with normal hips as determined by radiography.


The COHAT-Freckles’ Story

“Doc, my dog eats fine.  There’s no way Freckles has a problem with his teeth.”  I’m looking down at a somewhat rotund poodle-cross in my exam room and seeing a little dog who clearly is not malnourished.  Mrs. Jones and I discuss Freckles a bit more.  He’s six years old now and stopped eating dry food about a year ago.  He used to chew on those “dinosaur bones” from the pet store but now he just carries them around and eventually tries to bury them under the rug or the couch.  Mrs. Jones can tell he loves his canned food by the way he swallows it in three gulps.  She tells me, “Heck, he doesn’t even slow down to chew!” and “All dogs have doggy breath.”  Aha!  Now we’re getting somewhere.


I place Freckles on the exam table so that Mrs. Jones can see what I’m seeing when I examine her dog’s mouth.  He has some reddish-brown drool staining in the fur around his lips which is a little more apparent on the left side of his mouth.  I gently lift up the lip on the right side of his mouth first.  We can see some yellow and grey tartar building up on his upper canine (fang) tooth and the teeth at the back of his mouth.  The gumline is more red than pink where it is in contact with the tartar. I point out the signs of gingivitis as I see the abnormalities.  I might add that Freckles has more than just “doggy breath”-there is a definite and awful odour coming from his mouth.



New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents in 2013

January symbolizes a time for new beginnings for many of us.  I resolve that I won’t waste money on a gym membership.  I will clean out the dust tray in my Roomba, so that it can clean the dog hair “dust bunnies” under my dining room table.  I will ensure that I treat my dog with all the love, care, and respect that she deserves…  How can we all be even better pet parents in the New Year?


Identify Your Cat or Dog

It is a known fact that lost pets have an astronomically higher chance of being returned to their family homes if they “carry” the proper identification.  I really like microchips as a means of identifying both cats and dogs.  I personally would like to see all pet cats in Canada identified with a microchip.  If pets do not come home with one when they are adopted, a microchip can be implanted by the veterinary staff at your local animal hospital.  I always joke with clients that it takes them longer to fill out the paperwork than it takes for me to insert the chip.  The microchip will be placed under the skin about the level where the shoulders meet the back of the neck.  Chips do not transmit any type of signal (there’s no GPS capabilities with today’s technology) but do store a kind of bar code-like information.  All pet rescue shelters, municipal animal services agencies, and most veterinary hospitals ...



Winter Safety Tips

How do you and your pet spend time once the snow flies?  Do you cocoon in front of a cozy fire with a good book and your kitten on your lap?  Are you jogging with your dog in pouring rain?  Or are you outside in two feet of snow cavorting with your furry friend?  This month I went to the experts to ask about keeping your dog safe and healthy in the winter.


The Canada Urban Search and Rescue Task Force-4 out of Manitoba is largely considered a “cold weather” rescue team.  This team of volunteers consists of firefighters, police officers, hydro linemen, engineers, doctors, and paramedics who train in the event of a large-scale urban collapse on the Prairies or wherever they may be needed.  Task Force-4 also has a canine unit consisting of six dogs and their handlers who are certified in both Ground and Urban Search and Rescue specialties-and


November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that dogs and cats can develop cancer?  Cancer is the most common cause of natural death in cats and dogs in North America.  Apparently there are medical doctors who are astonished by the number of diseases animals share with people.  They are also somewhat surprised by the emotional attachment we have for our pets and the lengths that pet parents will go to treat their furry family members.  The book, Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human, authored by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers recounts the wonder that folks in the human medical field hold for those of us who practice veterinary medicine and how this commonality can impact the art and science of medicine as a whole.  Treatment and palliative care for cancer patients are fields where pets truly have access to state of the art diagnostics and therapy in Canada today.


Veterinarians in companion animal practice are highly competent in the diagnosing and staging the different types of tumours found in cats and dogs.  Our best diagnostic tool?  You, the pet owner.  You know your pets, their habits, what “normal” looks like for them.  You pet and hug your dog or cat every day and know when a lump first appeared and how quickly it has grown or changed.  You notice weight loss or gain based on how the ribs or spine feel under that furry coat.  Often without realizing it, you monitor his or her appetite and thirst and know all about how they poop and pee.  You will be concerned about a limp or a cough or sore that hasn’t healed.  Your observations go a long way to pointing us in the right direction as we perform a physical examination on your pet and plan our diagnostic testing.



Halloween Safety Tips

Trick or Treat! Halloween is one of my favourite holidays. Little Mermaids and Spidermen wander the neighbourhood for candy, and grown-up zombies eat red-iced “lady fingers” at seasonal parties. My dog, Maisey, wears her skull cap with great tolerance for one evening a year-it means she refuses to wear reindeer antlers at Christmas but that’s a story for another day. She likes people but hates the doorbell, so there is some pre-planning that we need to do before we host any trick-or-treaters. If you include your pet in the festivities, there are a few details to consider before the fun begins.


Pet Costumes-a Do or a Don’t? I have met very few pet parents who don’t have a strong opinion about dressed-up pets. They either love the idea or find it silly. I personally feel that as long as your dog or cat isn’t anxious or uncomfortable wearing a tutu or Batman costume, go for it. At least get the picture before the cat or dog shakes off the bunny ears. Cats tend to be more resistant to any type of masquerade, and we need to respect their boundaries. If you are concerned about your dog’s dignity, then you can always teach him or her to wear a backpack and carry the Halloween candy. Always ensure that your pet can’t get caught up in the costume or accidentally strangle on straps or fabric if panicked.


Alternative Therapy for Your Pet

Holistic medicine may mean different things to different pet owners.  Some people think it means using herbs instead of prescription medicines, while others don’t believe it is really a true form of medicine at all.  Whether we use complementary forms of therapy like acupuncture or chiropractic manipulation in our own hospitals, most veterinarians do believe in a holistic approach to patient care.  Holistic medicine refers to the philosophy of looking at the whole patient as we make decisions about diagnostic testing and treatment as opposed to just looking at a cat’s failing kidneys or a dog’s chronic ear infections. 

Veterinarians who incorporate complementary therapies into their patient care take this viewpoint that much further in their day-to-day professional lives.  As people around the world turn to more natural methods of improving their health, they look for similar modalities for the pets who share their lives.  The focus of a veterinarian who practices holistic medicine will be on health, maintenance, illness prevention and non-invasive treatments.


Summer Travel Tips for You and Your Pet

My dog, Maisey works at Petsecure.  She has her blanket beside my desk and offers her ears to be scratched and her tummy to be rubbed to any employee who needs a “puppy fix” during the day.  Because she works so hard all year long, she really needs a break during our short summers and allows me to chauffeur her on our holiday road trips.  She is originally from Germany, so she has also taken a few airline flights during her young life.  She has asked me to offer a few travel tips for other pet parents who are planning on taking their dogs and cats on vacation this summer.

I carry a backpack for Maisey to carry all of her personal supplies: dog food and treats (we are on holidays after all!), bottled water, poop bags,  brush, nail clippers, an extra collar and leash, a small first aid kit, her favourite stuffed toy (right now it’s a used-to-be stuffed squirrel), and her blanket.  You may need to bring along kitty litter and a disposable pan for your cat or prescribed medications for pets with chronic conditions.  For many pets across the country, you may need to bring their heartworm, flea, and tick prevention if you’re going on an extended trip.


Keep an eye out and you may see us at one of the many events we’re taking part in throughout June!

June 3 – Pride Winnipeg   www.pridewinnipeg.com

Pride Week is a 10-day celebration of GLBTTQ* culture in our community, and there’s no shortage of events throughout the festival – from sports tournaments to cocktail parties and coffee house performances by the city’s GLBTTQ* artists.

The Pride Winnipeg Festival is a multi-day celebration with many events for all segments of our diverse community all leading up to our main PRIDE DAY celebrations on
Sunday June 3, 2012.

Thousands of people are expected to mark the historic occasion of the 25th anniversary by participating in the 2012 Pride Winnipeg celebrations, which include the Rally, Parade through downtown Winnipeg, and outdoor Festival at the Forks. As always, Pride Day events are FREE & open to the public!

* Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit and Queer


Heartworm Disease – What You Need to Know
By Dr. Colleen Skavinsky, Chief Veterinary Officer

Yes, heartworm disease in Canada is real. Yes, heartworm disease can kill your dog. Yes, cats can develop heartworm disease too. No, not all dogs and cats in Canada are at risk. Let’s talk about heartworm disease and how you and your veterinarian decide if your pet requires regular testing and prevention.

The Ontario Veterinary College published a paper in 2010 which showed that 564 dogs tested positive for heartworm in Canada. Over 75 percent (431 in total) of these dogs lived in Ontario. There are also pockets of heartworm disease in southern Manitoba, southern Quebec, and southern mainland British Columbia. This study showed the presence of heartworm infection in dogs increased by nearly 60% since the last study of its kind in 2002. Researchers speculate that one factor may be the adoption of heartworm-positive rescue dogs from the southern United States after Hurricane Katrina or through other rescue programs from American states where there is a higher prevalence of heartworm disease. Other studies suggest that cats may be infected at approximately 1/10 the rate of dogs in heartworm prevalent areas.


Spring and Allergies in your furry friends
By Dr. Colleen Skavinsky, Chief Veterinary Officer

Spring has sprung across our great land. Sunny skies, tulips and crocuses...and itchy ears. Or itchy bellies. Or itchy paws. Dogs and cats can develop hay fever or seasonal allergies just like ourselves. Unlike people, who are prone to runny noses and stuffy sinuses, pets are more likely to show signs associated with skin lesions and ear infections when suffering from this condition.

Atopy is the term we use when we are describing an allergy to different particles in the environment. The severity is often related to changing seasons. Pets may become allergic to pollens, moulds, and dust particles (often dust mite "bits"). We used to categorize atopy as the inhalant-form of allergies.


Knee Injuries:
Cruciate Ligament in Dogs
By Dr. Colleen Skavinsky, Chief Veterinary Officer

The stifle, also known as the knee joint, is truly a wonder of bio-mechanical engineering. The thigh bone (femur) is connected to the shin bone (tibia and fibula) by a number of tendons and ligaments, including the cruciate ligaments. The bones are separated by two little cartilage cushions known as the menisci (singular form-meniscus). The cruciate (cross) ligaments inside the stifle help to stabilize and coordinate the hind leg during normal motion. The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is equivalent to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans. Cranial cruciate ligament injuries are one of the most common orthopedic conditions we see in dogs.

There are a number of factors involved in the development of cranial cruciate problems. Dogs appear to injure the cruciate ligament during activity. The normal stabilizing mechanisms within the knee are strained by sudden twists or turns to the point of partial tearing or true rupture. Playing with Kongs or other toys that bounce at unpredictable angles may cause this type of strain. Dogs who slip on stairs, trip in gopher holes, or slip on ice are at risk for knee injuries.

Actual trauma, however, actually accounts for a minority of ligament ruptures in dogs. More commonly, a degenerative process weakens the ligament over time until it eventually tears and ruptures. Progressive degeneration of the ligament has been attributed to a variety of factors. Dogs who are obese and inactive are four times more likely to rupture the cranial cruciate ligament. Conformation can play a role in dogs who do not possess normal angulation in the joints of the hind leg. Certain breeds may have a genetic predisposition to cruciate injuries: Rottweiler, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, and Boxer. The disease process in affected breeds may explain why these dogs have a 40 to 60% chance of tearing the cruciate ligament in the other leg within two years.


Your Pet’s Dental Health Matters Too!
By Dr. Colleen Skavinsky, Chief Veterinary Officer

Have you ever caught your dog brushing his teeth?  Your kitty flossing?  Wouldn’t it be great if our pets could manage their own dental health?  Unfortunately, they can’t.  As pet parents, we are solely responsible for keeping Chopper’s choppers clean and his breath as un-doggy as possible.  Kitty’s red gums can be a serious sign of oral pain. Dental disease is a concern in cats and dogs alike.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), an astounding 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they are three years old.Dental disease affects not just oral health, but also can contribute to heart, liver, and kidney problems.  Researchers have found that small breed dogs and cats will live 15-20% longer if they receive routine dental care as needed throughout their lifetime.  Even large-breed dogs may live 10-15% longer.

Dogs can get cavities, but they are generally more likely to have periodontal disease.  Cats develop oral resorptive lesions that can look like cavities but, in reality, are more painful.


Happy New Year!

Nothing like the beginning of a new year to get us excited for what’s to come! Goals in place? Check. New Year’s resolutions made? Check. Petsecure pet insurance’s first 2012 issue of eTails? Check!

Here’s what we are talking about this month:

Do you know if your dog is obese? Dr. Colleen Skavinsky, Chief Veterinary Officer discusses Obesity in Your Dog and what you need to know the next time you visit your veterinarian.

Also, we’ll discuss Allergies in Your Cat and help to debunk the myths!

Thousands of dogs and cats are living much healthier lives today, as we review our Top Claims paid in 2011.


The Holidays are here!

We’re wrapping up 2011 with one of our busiest seasons! 


In this issue of eTails, Dr. Colleen Skavinsky, our Chief Veterinary Officer, shares her Holiday Safety Tips to ensure you and your furry friend have a safe and happy holiday season.

 Dr. Skavinsky has also contributed to our Holiday Gift Guide, offering up some great gift ideas for your dog or cat!

 Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, where all month we’re talking about our Petsecure Gift Giveaway – uniquely designed Petsecure gifts free for you and your family!

 If you're looking for a fun way to send a holiday greeting to a pet lover in your life, check out our blog for some great holiday eCards!

From our Petsecure family to yours; have a safe and Happy Holiday!




It's been over two years in the making and we're very excited to have launched our new operating system (PAWS) this month. There have been a few bumps along the way as our team has moved over to the new software but soon we'll be able to share some of the new enhancements this system has to offer you! (Hint: Access to your Petsecure Account 24/7!)

In this e-newsletter, you'll find information about:

  • Our Top Claims for 2010 - find out what our largest claim was for!
  • Do you think Periodontal Disease only affects humans? Think again! In support of February's Pet Dental Health Month we're talking about ways to prevent the disease, the symptoms you should look for and how to care for your pet's oral health.




The snow has fallen, the city is decorated and the shops are buzzing! The holidays are fast approaching and Petsecure wants to make sure you and your pets are prepared!

In this Holiday issue of eTails, you'll find some fun and unique gift ideas for the dogs, cats and pet lovers in your life in our Holiday Gift Guide! Your pets are sure to enjoy these Petsecure favourites!

Our Holiday Safety Tips article has some great tips to keep your pet safe and out of trouble while decorating and preparing for visitors and fun throughout the month.

Looking for the perfect gift for the pet lover on your list? Why not give the gift of security, peace of mind and healthcare all wrapped up into one with Petsecure's Holiday Gift Cards. Available in any denomination, our gift cards are the perfect gift for a current Petsecure member or a great start for an uninsured pet parent!

From our 'doghouse' to yours, we wish you a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Happy holidays!



Welcome to Spring!

Warmer weather, longer days and very wet paws can only mean one thing. Yup! You guessed it, spring has officially sprung! We're very excited about this season and so are the pets in our lives. Who doesn't love a warmer walk around the block or getting back to the dog park? We're also very excited about some upcoming shows Petsecure is attending, including Woofstock June 12-13 and Paw's in Motion in Winnipeg, MB on June 27.

Looking ahead, we have lots in store for our members and our Facebook fans this year. If you haven't yet become our fan on Facebook be sure to check it out at www.facebook.com/petsecure today! We ask loads of questions to pet parents, run fun monthly contests and we're always blogging about one thing or another. Are you a Twitter user? Follow us at www.twitter.com/petsecure for even more updates!


Welcome to Winter!

The season has changed, the snow is falling and everyone is getting ready for the holiday season. It's the time of year to reflect on this year's success and look forward to 2010.

This past year, we celebrated our 20th anniversary of offering pet health insurance in Canada and had a busy year doing so. We launched our Petsecure blog, Facebook page and reached the $100 million mark in claims paid!
2009 was also jammed packed with other exciting events, including Pet Parent's Day in April, our 4th annual Pet Health Insurance Month in September and Pet Cancer Awareness Month in November. These events were such a success, that we can't wait to do them all again (plus many more) next year!


The Colour of Fall is Upon Us!

As the weather changes and the leaves start to turn, we are reminded that the lazy days of summer have passed and it's back to work, school and routine. With fall, comes the spook-tacular night of Halloween, and what better way to celebrate than by dressing up your pet? Upload your photos to our Facebook page for your chance to win! More details are below.

We are very excited to announce the winner of Petsecure's grand prize contest for Pet Health Insurance Month - Samantha Kraft-Roy from Petawawa, Ontario and her Jack Russell/Bichon Frise Winston. Our grand prize was valued at over $4,000, including 1 year of coverage with Petsecure, a 40" Sony LCD TV, plus other great prizes. More details will be posted on our website shortly. Congratulations Samantha!


Welcome To Spring!

Spring is here! You can almost smell the morning dew and the flowers starting to bloom. You and your pet are restless from the long winter months and are ready to play Frisbee in the park! To keep from getting too restless during the cold winter season we stay busy by exhibiting at various conferences, sponsoring events and being here to help take the financial pressure off you while protecting your furry loved one so that you are both All taken care of....more>>