The pet insurance crisis
“How can such a wealthy nation turn its back on underprivileged pets?” asked Rocky, as he swerved his car to avoid an unwanted, discarded furry stuffed bear on the shoulder of his local highway. “It’s a national disgrace.”
The Times of London recently featured some harrowing tales of pet health insurance claims. The full story is here: http://timesbusiness.typepad.com/money_weblog/2010/02/the-10-most-bizarre-pet-insurance-claims.html
These animals were the lucky ones because they live in a country with socialized medicine. The uninsured American pets never made the headlines — instead they seek medical care in dark alleys and makeshift clinics, staffed by unscrupulous get-rich-quick quacks. Or they just suffer in silence.
From the Times of London:
1. Alfie, a greedy chocolate Labrador, ate a wooden spoon while his owner was baking cakes. Having mixed the batter, the owner noticed that the mixing spoon was missing and saw that Alfie was showing signs of discomfort (and apparent guilt). He took the distressed mutt to the vet, who located the spoon in pieces in an x-ray and later operated to remove it.
2. A cat required an operation after swallowing a set of five rubber witch’s fingers. The costume fingers, which were part of a little girl’s Halloween get-up, had to be surgically removed.
3. A claim was received for medical treatment for a staffie called Busta who ate a rubber duck. The dog had been playing with its owners’ children when he swallowed the squeaky bath toy, which showed up clearly on the x-ray (pictured above).
4. In another case of a dog’s eyes being bigger than its stomach, a bulldog ate most of a wooden chair. When his owners came home, they found what was left of the chair in splinters, and the dog pining for a trip to the vet.
5. A Jack Russell terrier was playing with children in the garden and bit off more than he could chew when he swallowed a rubber chew toy. It was removed – and he bounced back.
6. An English springer spaniel got very unlucky when he impaled himself on the stick he was carrying. The dog was playing fetch in a local park, stumbled and dropped the stick, which caught his neck and punctured his throat. He was rushed into emergency surgery and made a complete recovery.
7. A hungry Labrador retriever was out with its owner on a fishing trip when he took the bait – and swallowed a fish hook.
8. A curious mongrel ate a whole pack of ibuprofen, causing a headache for his owner, who rushed him to the vet for treatment. The dog was put on a drip and kept under observation (reducing a potentially inflammatory situation).
9. A female Schnauzer was operated on after eating several sanitary pads.
10. A male Vallhund – a breed favoured by the Vikings – received treatment after being bitten on the lip by a rat.