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Is Hydrotherapy Covered by Petplan Pet Insurance?

As veterinary medicine continues to advance, innovative therapies like animal hydrotherapy are emerging to help pets recover from injury or illness. But specialty treatments often come with higher price tags not covered under basic policies. For owners wondering if pet insurance like Petplan covers alternative rehab methods, understanding typical exclusions and upgrade options offers insights on what to expect from your provider.

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy uses the natural properties of water to heal and recondition animals undergoing medical care. Prescribed aquatic exercises build strength and mobility within the supportive buoyancy of a warm water pool or underwater treadmill. Gentle resistance movements help recovering pets improve flexibility, manage pain, restore function after surgery/injury, or address chronic conditions like arthritis. Sessions typically run 30-60 minutes under a certified canine hydrotherapist. Vets may recommend routines ranging from passive stretching to higher intensity swimming intervals based on a pet’s needs.

Standard Pet Insurance Inclusions/Exclusions

Most U.S. providers like Petplan cover veterinarian fees and medications/supplies prescribed to diagnose, treat or manage a specifically covered illness or injury. This includes hospitalization, surgeries, lab work, x-rays, prescription diets if medically necessary, and more. But “wellness” preventatives like vitamins, grooming, or elective procedures fall outside basic policies. Terms generally exclude experimental or investigative therapies lacking definitive clinical evidence as well. While increasingly popular, animal hydrotherapy is still gaining mainstream recognition in veterinary circles. Classification as an “alternative” rehab treatment currently keeps standard policies from recognizing aquatic therapy pools and treadmills as necessitated medical care on par with surgical/pharmaceutical interventions.

Upgrade Options Expanding Coverage

In recent years Petplan began offering Rehabilitation and Complementary Care coverage riders to expand insurance beyond emergency/diagnostic fees. Add-on packages bundle non-standard therapeutic modalities like acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, nutritional counseling, and more as covered services up to a specified limit. Most insurers cap payout frequencies as well, but the upgrades allow owners to recoup partial costs for alternative rehabilitative therapies that benefit their pet’s care. Riders range from $7–$20 monthly added to regular premiums with combinations of visit limits (typically 15-40 sessions per year) and annual maximums covering 50-90% of session fees up to $3,000 or more.

Case-By-Case Considerations

Even premium tiers with rehabilitation riders do not equate to blanket approvals for unlimited alternative therapy treatments. Specific veterinary pre-authorizations outline prescribed sessions required to meet fixed treatment goals related to injury recovery or improving quality of life factors. Like human physical therapy, animals can’t stay in water treadmills indefinitely without progress documentation. Upfront vet referrals also confirm medical necessity – ruling out purely elective wellness therapy masquerading as medically-indicated rehab. Reviewers determine approvals case-by-case based on detailed injury and diagnosis information with the prescribing vet.

Other Limitations

Riders may limit some options like excluding underwater treadmill variants in favor of basic lap pool swimming sessions. And upgrades generally only apply after a specifically covered accident or illness initiates veterinary care. Arthritic dogs can’t enroll just to access hydrotherapy for their chronic pre-existing condition.?% of fees reimbursable per session also impacts out-of-pocket costs. Owners should clarify details with providers when evaluating optional coverage additions.

The Fine Print Matters

While Petplan’s rehabilitation offerings lead possibilities for pet hydrotherapy insurance coverage, policy documents contain multiple exclusions and limitations on alternative services. Other insurers lag with even fewer accommodation options. Carefully understanding policy fine print remains critical for owners assessing therapeutic choices for their pet. Prospectively speaking with providers to explain injury history and therapy goals within insurance parameters also smooths approval processes before committing to intensive rehabilitation regimes. Though progressing, pet insurance has room for growth in aligning with expanding animal therapy innovations.

The Bottom Line

Basic injury/illness plans predominantly cover standard vet costs over therapeutic alternatives like hydrotherapy with notable exceptions through upgraded bundles. But limited visits and narrow pre-authorization scopes keep many owners stuck handling the majority of expenses out-of-pocket. Until reform recalibrates norms, the safest assumption remains counting on self-funding the bulk of animal rehabilitation fees irrespective of pet insurance coverage. That said, educated owners can still leverage policy upgrades to defray partial costs making pet health goals more financially viable long-term. As an emerging field, hydrotherapy for dogs insurance offerings will likely continue incrementally expanding over time if client demand and veterinary adoption gain momentum.

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