Pet Health Conditions

Pet health conditions can refer to different illnesses your vet may diagnose your pet with.

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Pet Health Conditions

Pet health conditions can refer to several different kinds of ailments, health problems, medical conditions, and illnesses your vet may diagnose your pet with.

What are pet health conditions?

A pet health condition can refer to any number of health issues your pet may be diagnosed with, or show signs of, during their routine veterinary care

Pet parents are likely to do everything they can to keep their pets healthy… including buying insurance for their fur fam, keeping them up-to-date on checkups and vaccines, and making sure they’ve got a vet they can trust.

Not to scare you, but even pets who receive the best care are likely to develop some common health problems in their lifetime. If your vet diagnoses a member of your fur fam with a confusing pet health condition, here’s a super simple breakdown of terms you’ll want to be familiar with.

Here are the types of pet health conditions we’ll be covering:

What are hereditary conditions?

A hereditary condition is a kind of genetic condition that’s passed down to your pet from their (biological) parents. Hereditary conditions are more common in some breeds than others, so for dogs or cats who are predisposed to them, they may develop regardless of any preventative measures.

Some examples of hereditary conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia, cherry eye, epilepsy, polycystic kidney disease, and intervertebral disc disease. Certain ailments are easier to detect than others. Brachycephalic syndrome, for instance, is one you can see and hear in bulldogs and pugs, since their short snouts can make it hard for them to breathe.

What are congenital conditions?

A congenital condition is something that develops while your pet is in utero, but it’s not necessarily passed through genetics.

Some examples of congenital conditions include congenital heart disease, hypothyroidism, and hernias.

What are recurring conditions?

This one actually has to do more with your pet insurance company than your vet. A recurring condition is something that happens because of a specific, repeated behavior that you can help prevent, and it relates to something in your pet insurance policy called adequate care. 

If a pet parent isn’t providing a safe environment or a reasonable standard of preventative care for the pet, it could be considered neglect. If that neglect results in a health issue, it probably won’t be covered by your pet insurance policy. For the record, we’re sure you’re not neglecting your pet, and we hate thinking about this one, too! 

The good news is that this is all avoidable! If your dog keeps getting an eye infection after running into the same bush in your front yard, you can invest in doggles (yes… dog goggles are real). Your policy will give more details about how a recurring condition is defined, but at the end of the day, we know any good pet owner will do what they can to avoid any conditions that might harm their fur fam.

What are bilateral conditions?

Bilateral conditions are anything that can affect both sides of your pet’s body. Things like cataracts, hip dysplasia, or a luxating patella all count. If one side of your cat or dog’s body shows signs of a bilateral condition before a pet insurance policy starts, you should know that it will be considered a pre-existing condition if that ailment later occurs on the other side of their body.

So if your Havanese, Casper, developed glaucoma in his right eye before he got dog insurance, it wouldn’t be covered, since it would be considered a pre-existing condition. If you get him pet insurance and two years later he develops glaucoma in his left eye, that unfortunately wouldn’t be covered either.

What are behavioral conditions?

You don’t need to worry about your pet developing an ear infection or heartworm disease because of bad behavior, but there are actually several ailments your furry friend can suffer from as a result of what are known as behavioral conditions. Any kind of abnormal or dysfunctional behavior might result in your pet needing treatment.

If a pet develops an illness from anxiety or aggression it would be considered a behavioral condition. Some examples could be hair loss, or skin infection from excessive licking.

What is a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is any condition your pet showed signs of, was diagnosed with, or was treated for before the waiting period was up on your pet insurance. It doesn’t mean pet insurance companies won’t insure your pet, it just means your plan won’t cover costs that directly relate to any ailment they were diagnosed with before they had a pet insurance policy.

Pre-existing conditions are determined by everything you disclose about your pet’s health, most importantly your pet’s medical record. Any signs or diagnoses of an illness that show up before your policy waiting periods are up would be considered a pre-existing condition.



Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.