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It’s hard to look at a Maltese and not burst into an involuntary “cuteness overload” shriek. No matter their age, these fluffy little dogs retain their puppy energy (and look) throughout their lives. Malteses make the perfect companions, and at an average of 8 pounds, they can accompany you almost anywhere.
In general, Malteses have fairly long life spans (~15 years.) Unfortunately, like with most dogs, the Maltese breed is predisposed to certain medical conditions. While these health issues can be expensive to treat, you may be able to cover the high costs if you invest in pet insurance for your dog early.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the right pet insurance plan for your beloved Maltese. This guide will help you select a plan that covers everything you want it to, so you can be there for your dog when they need you most.
Compare The Top 9 Pet Insurance Plans for Your Maltese Using our Free No-Obligation Quote Tool below
The simplest way to compare pet insurance prices is to use our tool below. The comparison tool will show you quotes from the top 9 pet insurance carriers, including Trupanion, Pets Best, Lemonade, ManyPets, FIGO, HealthyPaws, Prudent Pet, Spot, and Embrace pet insurance.
How Much Does Pet Insurance for a Maltese Cost?
Below are some sample pet insurance plans for a 1-year-old male Maltese using the zip code 75001 (Texas) as an example.
Ultimately, your plan’s premium will depend on several factors, including your dog’s age, size, and breed, as well as where you live. You also want to know what type of coverage your plan has and if it will help with Maltese-specific health problems. Let’s get more into those medical conditions and how much you can expect to pay to treat them.
Common Health Problems Associated With Malteses
Collapsed Trachea in Malteses
The trachea (a.k.a the windpipe) is made up of rings of cartilage that provide flexibility and strength. When these rings weaken or collapse and change the shape of the windpipe, it makes breathing more difficult for your dog.
Dogs with collapsed trachea may exhibit a “honking” cough. They might also breathe loudly or gasp. If your Maltese is diagnosed with collapsed trachea, you should stop using a collar (especially with a leash) and switch to a harness. Your dog should also avoid really hot weather or extreme exercise.
Patellar Luxation in Malteses
The most common orthopedic condition for small dogs like the Maltese, patellar luxation, occurs when the knee is dislocated. Some affected dogs will have a minor limp, while others may become immobile. Uncorrected, patellar luxation can lead to arthritis and mobility problems later in your dog’s life.
Portosystemic Shunt (PSS) in Malteses
This is a liver condition commonly seen in Malteses. The liver removes toxins from the blood, and PSS is a congenital, hereditary malformation that causes blood vessels to bypass the organ. As a result, these toxins are spread to the rest of the dog’s body.
Portosystemic Shunts are a congenital disorder, so dogs known to have the condition should not be bred. Symptoms of a shunt include:
- Poor weight gain (in puppies)
- Neurologic changes in behavior, like pacing or pressing their head against the wall
- Poor muscle tone
When too many shunts are present or are difficult to isolate, surgery may not be possible. However, there are ways to manage the condition medically, like diet changes and liver supportive medications.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) in Malteses
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart defect that occurs at birth when the blood vessel fails to close. This results in a difference in pressure between the pulmonary artery and the aorta. That leads to blood flow from the aorta through the patent ductus arteriosus into the pulmonary artery.
Ultimately, the left side of the heart has to work much harder to pump blood through the body. The disease can continue to worsen, lead to enlarging of the left atrium, and even progress to heart failure.
If this condition is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible (before heart failure occurs), surgery to close the patent ductus arteriosus has a very high success rate. This is just one of many reasons it’s important to go to those veterinary check-ups so that the doctor can listen for signs of a heart murmur.
Typical Costs Of Treating Health Issues In Malteses and How Pet Insurance Can Help
If left untreated, many of the health conditions listed above can result in long-term consequences and even require surgery, which ultimately makes them more expensive to manage. Selecting a pet insurance plan suited for your Maltese’s particular needs might save you tons of money on medical costs.
Here are just some sample veterinary expenses for Malteses:
- Collapsed Trachea Costs: First, to diagnose the condition, your vet will need to perform several scans and tests, including X-rays, fluoroscopy, and a bronchoscopy. Depending on which of these tests they undergo, you could receive a bill of up to $2,000 (a bronchoscopy requires a general anesthetic, so it’s more costly.) Less severe cases of collapsed trachea can be treated with medications like cough suppressants and steroids. More severe cases might require tracheal reconstruction surgery, the cost of which averages ~$5,000.
- Patellar Luxation Costs: Treatment for patellar luxation depends on the “grade” of dislocation. If it’s Grade 2 and above, surgery may be needed to correct the issue. That orthopedic surgery could cost thousands of dollars ($1,000-$5,000 on average.)
- Portosystemic Shunts (PSS) Costs: This is a very pricey health condition to diagnose and manage. Diagnosis of shunts alone will cost you a pretty penny. Your dog will need basic laboratory tests, bile acid testing, X-rays, and an ultrasound of the abdomen. Ongoing treatment and medications could cost you $100-$200 every month (and even more for regular testing.) If necessary (or possible), surgery to clamp off the abnormal vessels might cost ~$2,500.
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) Costs: Your vet may need to perform X-rays and/or an echocardiogram to diagnose PDA. This, plus the cost of the surgical procedure to close the vessel, costs an average of $2,000 – $5,000. Depending on the progression of the condition, it’s likely that your dog will need ongoing heart medication ($30-$100 per month.)
Knowing the signs and symptoms of these conditions common in Malteses can help you catch them early, saving your dog and your money. When in doubt, take your pup to the vet to have them diagnosed.
What Is Pet Health Insurance And Why Do I Need It For My Maltese?
Pet health insurance works very similarly to human health insurance. Your policy quote will range in monthly price, depending on your dog’s breed, age, and where you live. Typically, you’ll spend around $15-$66 per month as a pet parent.
Pet insurance is mainly about peace of mind, knowing you won’t be totally overwhelmed in case of an emergency. Enrolling even when your dog is young and healthy will ensure you have plenty of coverage when they need expensive medical care later. If you choose a plan more suited to your dog’s particular breed, you’ll be more prepared when something happens later on in their life.
Some plans cover accidents and illnesses, while others only cover accidents. Certain plans do cover breed-specific illnesses, and others do not. It all depends on what type of coverage you choose. With our free pet insurance comparison tool, you can get quotes from multiple insurance companies with no obligation to commit.
Whatever plan you choose, you’ll feel better knowing you can take care of your dog when they need you most. Plus, you won’t have to suddenly shell out thousands of dollars. Learn more about how pet insurance works here.
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