Dog Health Care May 16, 2017 Share 0 Tweet Pin 0 Share 1 Why Your Pomeranian’s 'BIG' Spirit Means Pet Insurance is a MustDid you know Michelangelo owned a Pomeranian, who sat on a pillow and watched his mega-artist owner paint the Sistine Chapel? Likewise, Sir Isaac Newton owned a Pomeranian that reputedly chewed through some of his master's important manuscripts. Heavy stuff. (See what we did there...heavy...gravity?)All of which shows us that looks can be deceptive. Small and fluffy as Poms appear, in their mind they are big...huge in fact...with a character to match. And when their closest relatives are roughy-toughy, out-doorsy breeds such as the Samoyed, German Spitz, and American Eskimo dog it's not hard to understand why. Help yourself to have a happy healthy pup that lives to a ripe old age, by choosing a reputable breeder who socializes their litters from an early age. Happily, the Pomeranian is a breed blessed with blooming good health, even so, they still have their problems.However, this doesn't mean you can sit back and feel complacent. The responsible pet parent has pet insurance for their Pomeranian because these extrovert characters do get themselves into scrapes and are greater risk of certain health problems than other breeds. Let’s face it, pet insurance is something you never want to use, but are glad of when your do. A small monthly premium can mean big peace of mind...just the Pom himself! Common Medical Conditions and the Cost of Treatment for PomeraniansConditionSignsTreatmentCostPatellar luxation(Wobbly kneecaps)Skipping steps on a back legDifficulty jumping upRest and pain relief Surgical correctionVet consult £25-45Monthly medication £20Corrective surgery £700 – 2,500 per legAtlanto-axial subluxation(Unstable neck vertebrae)Neck painLimb paralysisRest and pain reliefSpecialist surgeryMRI scan £1,500Specialist surgery up to £7,000Alopecia X(Extreme hair loss)Bald bodyNo definitive treatment proven to be effectiveNo definitive treatment proven to be effectiveEmergency surgery £1,500 – 2,500HypothyroidismDull, brittle coatLethargy and lack of energyDaily medication for lifeDiagnostic investigation £300-500Yearly meds £400CataractsBlue - milky appearance to the eyeImpaired visionPhaecoemulsion surgery to remove the cataract£1,500 - 3000 per eyeNow do you understand why you need a good pet insurance policy? We will now explore these medical issues in more detail so as you know what to look out for in your Pomeranian’s pet insurance policy. Wobbly Kneecaps (Luxating Patellas) The perky Pom who skips along the pavement, with a “One-two-three-hop” gait, is highly likely to have an issue with his knee-caps. Once you get your eye in, it’s amazing just how many dogs you spot doing this. The source of this is poor joint anatomy which includes: The groove in which the kneecap sits is too shallow, so the patella slides around The joint capsule is stretched and baggy, so it doesn’t hold the kneecap in place The bony knuckle (tibial crest) to which the patella is anchored, is offset, which then pulls the kneecap off to one side. Mild cases lead to that skipping gait, however, each time the kneecap slips it causes bone to rub on bone. This leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly early arthritis. Whilst many dogs respond nicely to pain relieving medication, the worst cases require surgery to correct those underlying anatomical quirks. Unstable Neck Vertebrae (Atlanto-axial Subluxation) One potentially serious Pom problem, with devastating consequences, is the result of instability between the first two vertebrae in the neck. Inherited anatomical quirks allow these two bones to move around too much, which then pinches on the spinal cord, with devastating consequences such as complete paralysis. Unfortunately, this can happen to young dogs in the prime of life, and specialist orthopaedic surgery is the pup’s best hope for recovery. The warning signs range from neck pain (the Pom yelps when you put his collar on or he’s reluctant to put his head down to eat) or sudden collapse while playing. Such events need investigating and the gold standard is an MRI scan. This gives a picture of the neck bones and any narrowing of the spinal cord, but with at average cost of £1,500 this is not a procedure to be sniffed at. If the diagnosis is confirmed, surgery on the neck to stabilize the bones is necessary. This is Super-Vet territory with a price tag to match, which makes pet insurance for your Pomeranian something you don’t want to be without. Alopecia X Alopecia X is a ‘Good news: bad news‘ condition. The good news is that it’s mainly cosmetic and unlikely to impact on your Pom’s overall health. The bad news is your Pom’s plush coat falls out leaving him looking more leathery than fluffy, and there’s no treatment proven to reverse the signs. Another important point is that other health conditions which could make your dog sick, need to be ruled out before a diagnosis of Alopecia X is made. Problems such as Cushing’s disease, underactive thyroid glands, or demodectic mange DO have treatments, so the vet needs to make sure nothing is missed…which means skin biopsies and scrapes, and blood tests. Hypothyroidism The dog that likes to sleep all day next to a radiator may just be super-chilled, or he may have underactive thyroid glands. This latter becomes even more likely if he starts to lose fur and develop a typical ‘rat tail‘. Also, that luxuriant fur coat becomes dry and brittle, he sheds heavily and yet the fur doesn’t regrow, leaving him with a moth-eaten appearance. Many pet parents mistakenly believe hypothyroidism is a disease of older dogs, but this isn’t necessarily so. Sadly, young Pomeranians aged one to five years old, are also at risk. Your vet can make a diagnosis by running blood tests. These look at the levels of thyroid hormone and the hormone which instructs the body to make extra thyroxine. If the readings are out of kilter, then hypothyroidism is diagnosed. Happily, this condition is easily treated but does require daily medication for life. This is where you’ll be glad of a lifetime cover pet insurance policy, which keeps paying out over the duration of your Pomeranians long and happy life. Cataracts A problem young Pomeranians are prone to, is the development of early cataracts. Unlike those cloudy lens’ that develop as a complication of diabetes, these cataracts are genetic. This means the pup is born with genes coding for the early development of cataracts, with life-changing consequences for his vision. You should be suspicious of cataracts if the dog’s eyes look milky or cloudy in bright light. Your vet can check this out by shining a bright light into the eye, and seeing if the lens casts a shadow or not on the retina. If your dog is diagnosed with cataracts, don’t worry. A veterinary ophthalmologist can use a sophisticated laser technique to destroy the diseased lens tissue and implant a new one. However, this does come at a cost of several thousand pounds per eye, which against makes pet insurance for Pomeranians seem even more important. Good Pet Insurance for Pomeranians is a Priority Whether you are a cup half-full or half-empty person, pet insurance for your Pomeranian remains a good idea. Whilst the breed is blessed with better health than others, problems do still pop up with frightening frequency. The protection from vet fees that a pet insurance policy provides, means that you can face the future without losing sleep over ifs and buts. Remember, the best time to take out pet insurance is when your Pomeranian is a puppy. A bit like a no-claims bonus on a car, when your pet remains well you build up a history with that insurance company which stabilizes the premiums in your pet’s later life. However, when you leave taking out insurance until your pet is older, when age-related issues start to creep in, you’re likely to find the premiums are much higher. Act today! Don’t let confusion be the reason your Pom goes unprotected. If you find the many options available baffling, then check our No-Nonsense Guide to Finding the Best Pet Insurance for Dogs.