November 28, 2006
Another announcement from Embrace.
For every policy sold, we will donate $2 to a pet-related charity. So you can do good for the pet community by doing good for your own pets.
We've already made our first donation to The Friends of the City of Cleveland Kennel and hope to make a lot more donations in the near future. Watch this space for our charitbable donation stories.
November 27, 2006
There's nothing worse than getting nickle and dimed every time you want to make a change to your policy. The banks do it all the time, most of the other pet insurers do it all the time, and we started to go down that garden path until I came to my senses.
Up until last week, we were going to charge you fees for choosing to pay your premuims monthly instead of annually ($1 a month), and we were also going to charge you to make a change to your policy terms ($10 I confess).
Well, I say NO MORE! What's the point of being the Chief Embracer if I can't do the right thing right now? So here it is. At Embrace, we will not charge you fees on your policy - period.
I came to this realization from two slaps in the face.
First, I am reading Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. I can't describe to you how invigorating it is to read about someone whose passions and beliefs are so intertwined with the company culture; I could go on for hours (read the book and spare me the trouble - it's totally worth it). Yvon reminded me how much we need to understand how our company philosophy impacts our customers and vice versa to make an impact on our pet parents' lives (such an understatement; I'm kind of embarrassed that I can't do better than that).
Second, I was talking to one of our new employees last week about the bank he used to work for (who will remain nameless for the purposes of this conversation) and he got me so riled up about how this bank (and I'm sure the rest big banks are the same) won't change some of the processes they have in place because changes would reduce the fees charged to its customers (I happen to be one of them).
This bank want you to bounce checks and to do it often so they can milk as much money out of you as they can. They are so addicted to fees that they won't put in processes to help their customers avoid these fees. I'm still so mad about it, I feel my blood pressure rise. The sad thing is, as customers of banks, you and I both know that if any bank said NO MORE FEES and actually meant it, we'd all flock there in droves. And we'd bring our friends. And we'd stay with that bank forever. That must be worth more than the hundreds of millions of dollars banks are making off. They just don't get it (another huge understatement).
So, putting those two slaps in the face together, I now bring you no more fees from Embrace.
Happy No Fee Day!
November 23, 2006
You don't normally think about toe amputations for cats and dogs but it does happen and can have an impact on the animal's walk.
Impact of Toe Amputation
Dogs and cats have five toes with the dew claw being the first toe, which is not in contact with the ground. That leaves four toes that actually support the dog or cat.
The third and fourth toes are the weight bearing toes and are missed the most by a dog or cat even if only one of them is amputated. If a weight bearing toe is amputated, cats and small breed dogs are less likely to be lame than larger breed dogs. Even though the second and fifth toes are important, they are not major weight bearing toes and dogs and cats do quite well if these are removed.
Reasons for Toe Amputations in Dogs and Cats
The most common reasons for toe amputations are due to trauma, such as getting hit by a car, and tumors. Surprisingly, tumors of the toes are pretty common in dogs but having said that, we coulnd't fund much useful information on the web about these tumors so we quizzed one of our veterinarian friends (thanks Heather!) about toe amputations and tumors and she pointed us in the direction of two large studies done on toe disorders in dogs.
The first study had 96 dogs with disorders of the nail and nail bed, which showed that 12 out of the 96 dogs with nail disorders had cancerous tumors. The second study had 124 dogs with toe masses, of which 101 were tumors. This basically just shows that not all lumps are cancerous but get your vet to take a look no matter what.
The jury is still out on predisposition of gender, location and breed to get toe tumors but some people feel that male breeds are predisposed to tumors more than females. No-one has proved one way or another.
Types of Toe Tumors
The most common types of cancer are
- squamous cell carcinoma (malignant tumors of the skin) – most commonly seen in black large breed dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers and Standard Poodles but also seen in Dachshunds
- malignant melanoma (malignant tumors of the melanocytes in the skin) – most commonly seen in Schnauzers and Irish Setters
- mast cell tumors (accumulation of mast cells on the toes)
- soft tissue sarcomas (cancer of the soft tissue on the toe or other parts of the body)
Other less common types are osteosarcoma (bone cancer), histiocytoma (benign tumor), basal cell tumor and a variety of benign (non-cancerous) tumors.
Toe Amputations for Cats and Dogs
Ask Laura: the impact of toe amputation surgery
Ask Laura: dog weight bearing toe amputation appropriate or not?
Ask Laura: infected ingrown toe nail on cat
Ask Laura: to amputate or not to amputate the cat's toe, that is the question
Corns on a greyhound's toe: Dr Riggs discusses
November 22, 2006
I've mentioned Millie's Million before in my blog (see Coping with your dog's cancer) - it's a charity formed to help pet owners find support and information about dogs who have been diagnosed with cancer. For more information, check out the Millie's Million website.
Millie's Million is based in Chagrin Falls, a suburb of Cleveland, which happens to be about three miles from my house, but I only met Debbie Celli who runs the charity earlier this month for the first time at the blogging event I presented at. It was a pleasure to meet someone so commited to helping others who are going through the same thing she did with her dog Millie - whom I met the other day too.
One of the ways that Debbie is raising money for Millie's Million is to auction of a number of purses that pet lovers have created. Alex's wife, Ceci, put ours together (see the beautiful creation to the right) and they will be auctioned off on eBay early December - I'll post the links when they are set up.
So, this is a warmup for when the purses go for sale. Any contribution you can make would be greatly appreciated by Debbie and all the pet parents of dogs with cancer who benefit from the Millie's Million charity.
November 16, 2006
Just so you know exactly what some of the terms in my prior post on Embrace Pet Insurance's pre-existing conditions mean:
A chronic condition is a detectible condition that, once developed, is deemed incurable or likely to continue for the remainder of a pet’s life.
Clinical signs are changes in a pet's normal healthy state, bodily function or behavior.
The effective date means the date on which your coverage begins as stated on the Declaration. (the start date of the current policy period.
Sorry to bore you with these legal looking terms, but I wanted to point something out. If you read these definitions carefully, you'll see that your pet's pre-existing conditions get reset every time your policy renews, which, for most of you, not exactly what you'd want in your pet insurance policy.
So, we offer our optional Continuing Care coverage:
Continuing Care Coverage Extension: We will reimburse you for the cost of treatment your pet receives in the current period of insurance for a) an illness that first showed clinical signs in a prior period of insurance, or b) for an Injury that occurred in a prior period of insurance, with benefits totaling no more than the continuing care maximum shown on the schedule page(s).
This way, you get to see exactly what this benefit costs and if it's worth it to you to add it to your policy.
BTW, this just shows that you need to ask other pet insurers what they cover because when continuing care is not explicitly mentioned in policies, it might not be covered. Don't assume it is covered.
Related Posts: Pre-Existing Condition Part 1, Pre-Existing Condition Part 2