Pet Health Zone tool uses claims data to inform pet owners, care teams

September 04, 2023

Nationwide, one of the largest providers of pet health insurance in the United States, announced a new digital platform in July that uses more than 40 years of claims data to develop The Pet Health Zone.

Nationwide PetHealthZone
Nationwide pet insurance's team of veterinarians, breed experts, and data analysts have used information from the insurer to put together the online platform Pet Health Zone that informs pet owners of breed risk predilections. (Image courtesy of Nationwide)

This goal of this resource to proactively provide pet owners with information on health conditions to which individual breeds may be predisposed. Information for dog owners is now available; information on cats will be available in the future.

At launch, the Pet Health Zone was using over 12 million Nationwide claims, explained Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide's VP of Pet Health and chief veterinary officer. Users must first enter their pet's name, breed, and age. Then tool can help pet owners learn what symptoms to watch for and work with their veterinary health care team to make more informed decisions about their pet's medical care.

It will, for example, inform owners of young adult American Cocker Spaniels that their dog is 16 times more likely to have cherry eye compared with all other dog breeds.

"Because the data in the Pet Health Zone comes from millions of pets, it provides a level of clinical credibility that helps support tough discussions," Dr. Benson said. "Given that much of the existing data around breed risk predilections come from relatively small populations of pets, our unparalleled dataset has allowed us to identify trends that have not been published before."

This includes trends in popular crossbreeds such as Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, and Cockapoos; identification of disease risks that may have a behavioral element such as foreign body ingestion; and increased risks for cancers in specific body systems such as neurologic tumors in mature and senior Boxers and Boston Terriers.

This data-informed knowledge encourages at-home monitoring, helping pet owners spot early signs of poisoning, illness, and get timely veterinary care. Veterinary health care teams may have a better chance to help with interventions and treatments that provide the best outcomes when owners are aware of potential issues, the company says.