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    • Cowley1989
    • By Cowley1989 26th Sep 17, 10:42 AM
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    Cowley1989
    Heart murmur and pet insurance
    • #1
    • 26th Sep 17, 10:42 AM
    Heart murmur and pet insurance 26th Sep 17 at 10:42 AM
    Hi

    I have an 18 month old bedlington terrier. On his very first set of injections the vet checked his heart and stated he might have a heart murmur but could not be sure. We were told to wait until next set of injections as sometimes puppies an have these initially. So on next set of injections no heart murmur detected and was told he does mot have a heart murmur(this was the cardiologist vet too). He has been go the vets 4 times since for other things including his annual boosters and as usual they always check heart rate and no problems.

    I took teddy to vet yesterday as we noticed he has lost weight and vet informed us she can hear a murmur and increased heart rate. He is booked in for a heart scan on Monday.

    Now the problem is I have rang my insurance and they have said they don't think he will be covered on the insurance. They have asked for an prior agreement with vet before the procedure.

    Just want some advice on whether we should be entitled to some form of support with financing this either from the insurance or our vet if they have missed this for so long. Thanks.
Page 1
    • KxMx
    • By KxMx 26th Sep 17, 10:55 AM
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    KxMx
    • #2
    • 26th Sep 17, 10:55 AM
    • #2
    • 26th Sep 17, 10:55 AM
    Which insurance company?

    What grounds did the insurance give you for it possibly not being covered?

    Read through your full policy document and see if there is any reason why it wouldn't be covered.

    It can be usual for insurance companies to seek agreements with Vets or send policy holders to an approved list of providers.

    I'm not sure there would be any financial redress from the Vet. It sounds like there has always been doubt and puppy was seen by the right Vet too.

    It could be that the condition has been minor up until now, hence the uncertainty, and is now more developed and detectable.
    Last edited by KxMx; 26-09-2017 at 11:04 AM.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 26th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
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    sheramber
    • #3
    • 26th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    • #3
    • 26th Sep 17, 11:09 AM
    Did you take out the insurance after the vet had recognised a heart murmur at his first vaccinations?

    If so, and the scan shows a condition that is connected with that murmur then it will be a pre existing condition and not covered.

    But puppies often have a murmur which disappears as they get older. They are not due to any heart disease.

    If the current murmur is due to a heart disease that is not connected to the original murmur then you should be covered.

    That is what th insurance company will want to clarify with your vet.

    If the murmur has just become apparent then the vet could not be expected to have detected it earlier.
    • Cowley1989
    • By Cowley1989 26th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
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    Cowley1989
    • #4
    • 26th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    Thanks. I am with animal friends they are saying it is a pre existing condition as the murmur would be before the insurance was taken out? But as far as I was concerned he did not have a murmur as from second vaccinations onwards nothing has been raised.
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 26th Sep 17, 1:59 PM
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    teddysmum
    • #5
    • 26th Sep 17, 1:59 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Sep 17, 1:59 PM
    It's true that some puppies have heart murmurs, because the heart didn't develop fully before birth and it goes away.

    Also, with particular breeds (cavaliers, in my case) vets expect to find a murmur and several years ago, one of our vets said my Teddy (popular name) had a murmur.


    However,he had to go back a few weeks later (at the time an extra strain was added separately to vaccinations) and the practice owner , with a large interest in hearts, said he couldn't hear anything, even after trying his 'special stethoscope'.


    10 years or so on, he has a very faint murmur, now, but he is 14 and the vet thinks it's more a case of age wear and tear than the usual cavalier MVD. It doesn't bother him at all.
    Last edited by teddysmum; 26-09-2017 at 2:09 PM.
    • Cowley1989
    • By Cowley1989 26th Sep 17, 3:09 PM
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    Cowley1989
    • #6
    • 26th Sep 17, 3:09 PM
    • #6
    • 26th Sep 17, 3:09 PM
    Thanks. I suppose if the insurance won't cover the cost then we have a decision to make. Aside from weight loss approx 1kg in 4 weeks he is fine...active usual mischievous self. Can heart murmur cause weight loss?
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 26th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
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    teddysmum
    • #7
    • 26th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
    • #7
    • 26th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
    My last two cavaliers lost a lot of weight in their last two years (9 and 14),but I think part of this was through kidney failure ,which long term medication can cause.


    Having said that, Joly (14) has lost a lot of weight, but this is partly because he eats less,having lost most of his teeth. Teddy has lost some weight,but his murmur is negligible , though,he too is low on teeth.


    I don't know about other heart conditions,butwith MVD (mitral valve disease which three of mine have had) vets don't medicate until they show symptoms such as a harsh cough, fluid retention or breathlessness.


    I don't know how bad Joly's long term murmur is and don't want to know really,as it doesn't help,but he doesn't need medication.


    Having known lots of owners of dogs with heart problems (The scourge of cavaliers) it is not how bad the murmur is,but rather how the body copes with it. One friend had a dog with a top grade murmur, but no symptoms for years,while others can't cope with a low grade.


    Vets are more concerned about pulse and how the dog responds rather than the grade of murmur.


    A test of how well your dog is coping is to gently press a bit of flesh in its mouth and see how quickly,compared to a healthy dog,it takes to pink up again. My Monty pinked well until his last months ,he coughed very little but had a lot of fluid retention
    • Soot2006
    • By Soot2006 27th Sep 17, 12:45 PM
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    Soot2006
    • #8
    • 27th Sep 17, 12:45 PM
    • #8
    • 27th Sep 17, 12:45 PM
    Thanks. I suppose if the insurance won't cover the cost then we have a decision to make. Aside from weight loss approx 1kg in 4 weeks he is fine...active usual mischievous self. Can heart murmur cause weight loss?
    Originally posted by Cowley1989
    Yes they can cause significant weight loss.

    There are a few considerations here:
    • Heart murmurs can be brought on by other conditions. Would the insurance company pay for the investigation of the "weight loss" even if it turns out to be due to the heart murmur (this may be something they wish to discuss with the vet ; i.e. if the murmur cause or effect)
    • IF the insurance won't have anything to do with it, could you pay for some blood tests out of pocket ... and if there is something else going on, claim afterwards?
    Good luck. Sounds like a real worry
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 27th Sep 17, 12:46 PM
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    sheramber
    • #9
    • 27th Sep 17, 12:46 PM
    • #9
    • 27th Sep 17, 12:46 PM
    Thanks. I am with animal friends they are saying it is a pre existing condition as the murmur would be before the insurance was taken out? But as far as I was concerned he did not have a murmur as from second vaccinations onwards nothing has been raised.
    Originally posted by Cowley1989
    you could ask your vet if he will confirm to Animal Friends that your dog did not have a heart murmur before but it would depend on what is causing the murmur. If it can be contributed to heart disease which would not have been present before.

    If it can be attributed to the original heard murmur then it is pre existing.

    However, Animal Friends have a reputation of wriggling out of paying if at all possible.

    Depending on what your vet says about the murmur you can follow the insurance company complaints procedure as detailed in the policy booklet.

    Once they confirm in writing that they will not cover you contact the Financial Ombudsman for his decision.
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 27th Sep 17, 4:24 PM
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    teddysmum
    you could ask your vet if he will confirm to Animal Friends that your dog did not have a heart murmur before but it would depend on what is causing the murmur. If it can be contributed to heart disease which would not have been present before.

    If it can be attributed to the original heard murmur then it is pre existing.

    However, Animal Friends have a reputation of wriggling out of paying if at all possible.

    Depending on what your vet says about the murmur you can follow the insurance company complaints procedure as detailed in the policy booklet.

    Once they confirm in writing that they will not cover you contact the Financial Ombudsman for his decision.
    Originally posted by sheramber

    I know of someone whose dogs leg was injured by the wire flexilead being used by a careless owner with a pulling dog, yet her insurance would no longer cover any leg problem, even caused by a disease in another leg. This dog was no more likely to get a leg trauma than any other dog, but that's the way things went.
    • Cowley1989
    • By Cowley1989 28th Sep 17, 5:05 PM
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    Cowley1989
    My vet sent off a preauthorisation however animal friends said they won't even look at this unless it is over £1000 and so won't tell me whether we will be covered or not despite the vet sending them all the info!
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 28th Sep 17, 7:55 PM
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    sheramber
    If your vet confirm that the current problem is not connected in any way to the previous diagnosis of a heart murmur and Animal Friends refuse to pay out you can proceed through the complaints procedure and to the ombudsman. If he decides in your favour then Animal Friends will have to pay out. It does not cost you anything to do this.

    You can check out previous cases where the ombudsman decision was against the insurance company in cases where the vet confirmed there was no connection to a previous condition on the Financial Ombudsman website.

    But , if your vet cannot say it is not connected until after more investigations then you will have to decide how to proceed- credit card, payment plan etc.?
    • LusciousLuce
    • By LusciousLuce 3rd Oct 17, 8:46 AM
    • 84 Posts
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    LusciousLuce
    I'm an assessor, and I'd be looking for the vet to confirm the (presumed transient) murmur detected at the primary vacc is not related to the current symptoms.

    However, the vet may not be able to do this without the cardiac work up, which is presumably what the pre-authorisation request was for. (Lots of insurance companies don't do pre-auths under £1k). Could you self-fund the initial consult with the cardiologist? This vet might then be able to state tonthe insurers that it is a new condition and not related.

    The main problem you've got is the company you're insured with. The exclusions they place are ridiculous and honestly I don't know how they get away with it. (The example above of the cut to leg, which is an accident, resulting in a whole leg exclusion, is fairly standard with them.)

    In your case, if it is unrelated and the insurance co still refuse your claim, I think FOS may well find in your favour. Have a look on their website - they say something about whether it would be reasonable for the policyholder to have known there is a pre-existing condition that would likely need treatment prior to their policy inception. You could not be expected to know this is/could be a pre-existing condition based on the common finding of a heart murmur in a young puppy which then resolved.

    None of this helps your immediate situation though, as these battles take time and the most important thing is you have a poorly pet who needs treatment. Maybe your vet could agree to commence work up and treatment in the hope that the insurance will cover it but if not with the agreement that you pay in reasonable instalments over the next few months?
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