Healing Heroes: Service Dogs Get 100% Free Health Care

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Story: Vets’ Service Dogs Stay in Tip-Top Shape — for Free

Trupanion, a pet insurance provider based in Seattle, will cover 100 percent of veterinary bills for service dogs of U.S. veterans. The new U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program launched in January is a joint effort between the company and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The program covers unlimited care for certified dogs and there is no age limit for dogs. Coverage includes:

  • Treatments for pre-existing, hereditary, and congenital disorders
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Chronic or recurring conditions
  • Wellness and preventive exams and vaccinations

The VA estimates that 400,000 veterans are currently being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and recently revived their study to evaluate how service dogs can help. The American Humane Association website states that their service dogs can also be used to treat “…traumatic brain injury, panic attacks, anxiety, depression or a bi-polar disorder.”

Veterans with PTSD service dogs report improved sleep, decreased startle responses and a decrease in pain medication. Through the help of trained service dogs, veterans are able to engage in positive social interactions and reintegrate back into civilian life. — American Humane Association

More information on the dog health care program is available here. Veterans wishing to request a service dog can find out more information on how to do so here.

DoD image of puppy in the Warrior Transition Brigade Service Dog Training Program by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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