Man’s best friend costing a fortune

Monday , 26 June 2017 by Janine Kendall

Chewing your favourite pair of shoes, digging up the rose garden and going to the toilet inside are just a few things that can upset pet owners. But the latest claims released by Southern Cross Pet Insurance prove these petty crimes may be the least of your worries.

One dog owner found his two Miniature Schnauzers fighting over a packet of hot cross buns and then faced a $1,113 vet bill to treat the reigning champ for raisin toxicity.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance has released a list of the top five unusual claims from the past year to highlight the odd situations pets can get themselves into, and the financial headaches they create for the unprepared.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance Head Anthony McPhail says dogs are known to chew on anything and everything, so the Miniature Schnauzer isn’t alone.

“Other claims include a miniature poodle eating a pair of pantyhose and a golden retriever eating a fish hook that had to be surgically removed,” McPhail says.

Cats aren’t invincible either – the owner of a Birman cat found blisters on the pads of its paws after it jumped on a hot stovetop.

Some of the most unusual claims in the past year include:

  1. One hungry Dalmatian had a kebab stick passing from its stomach, across the diaphragm and into the right-hand side of its lungs ($6,800)
  2. A Golden Retriever ate a fish hook and line, which had to be surgically removed ($2,029)
  3. One pet owner found his two dogs fighting over a packet of hot cross buns. The Miniature Schnauzer who ate the most had to be treated for raisin toxicity ($1,113)
  4. A tortoiseshell cat was lazing around in the neighbour’s garden when a passing dog spotted it and attacked – all captured by a security camera. The dog bite punctured the cat’s stomach ($882)
  5. One repeat offender (a Spoodle) scoffed Sudafed tablets then ended up back at the vet four days later after consuming Ibuprofen tablets ($585)

A Southern Cross survey looking at New Zealanders and their pets found one third of pet owners find it hard to pay for vet bills, and more than half could only afford to spend up to $1,000 caring for a sick or injured pet. One in ten respondents had to euthanise their pet because of cost.

McPhail says pets give owners a lot of pleasure when they're healthy, but it’s extremely upsetting when they are hurt or unwell, so it’s important not to underestimate how much treatments can cost.

“It’s not uncommon for vet bills to exceed $1,000 and some of the most expensive claims we get are for animals that are ill or have inherited conditions.

"There's no animal equivalent of a public health system, so if you don’t have pet insurance it’s wise to put money aside. Pets are a financial commitment at the best of times and even more so when they’re ill or injured,” says McPhail.