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PET OWNERS BEWARE AND BE CAUTIOUS AS TEMPERATURES BEGIN TO HEAT UP

 PET OWNERS BEWARE AND BE CAUTIOUS AS TEMPERATURES BEGIN TO HEAT UP
 ANAHEIM, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Pet owners beware. As the temperatures begin to rise, pet owners need to be cautious and responsible when it comes to their four-legged friends. Pets should never be left in a car during the warm months.
 Unlike their masters, cats and dogs don't perspire through their skin. Perspiring allows one to reduce the body's temperature under extreme heat conditions. Cats and dogs release their heat through panting and the pads on their paws. If a pet is left in a car or outside without any shade, it will begin to pant heavily which increases the pet's heart rate and ultimately suffer from hyperthermia, also known as heat stroke.
 If a dog is an outdoor dog, be certain to provide a shaded area and plenty of fresh water. Other common problems that arise during the warmer months are allergies and pyoderma (hot spots). Dryness in the skin or coat can cause the pet to scratch and chew on an aggravated area, which then may become moistened and infected. If gone untreated, these hot spots may increase in size and cause extreme discomfort for a pet.
 Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), an accident and illness insurer of cats and dogs, notes an increase in claims frequency of these conditions during the warmer months. VPI covers more than 6,400 different medical diseases and problems.
 VPI is the largest pet health and accident insurer for cats and dogs in the country; operating since 1980. VPI was designed and developed by the veterinary profession to provide the best possible coverage at the most economical rates and to offer financial assistance which will provide an alternative to euthanasia and pet suffering because of economics. This is a major problem, according to VPI.
 VPI has sold more than 500,000 policies. This program makes necessary major medical treatment more affordable and also covers small bills and problems such as ear infections, skin rashes and GI upsets. VPI helps pay for office calls, injections, prescriptions, treatments, lab fees, X-rays, surgery and hospitalization (subject to policy terms).
 For additional protection, each pet receives and I.D. tag and is enrolled in the lost and found registry which provides a 24-hour hot- line for finders of lost pets. When a pet is located, VPI will then contact the owner.
 Veterinary Pet Health and Accident Insurance plan is available in 34 states, including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Plans are under development to make the plans available in the balance of the states.
 Veterinary Pet Health and Accident Insurance is underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. in California and underwritten by the National Casualty Co. outside of California.
 VPI maintains a toll-free phone number for consumer inquiries, 800-USA-PETS.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /CONTACT: Dr. Jack Stephens, president, or Rebecca Moore, 714-996-2311, both of VPI/ CO: Veterinary Pet Health and Accident Insurance ST: California IN: INS SU:


JL-KJ -- LAFNS1 -- 6334 05/05/92 07:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 5, 1992
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