The most purrplexing pet insurance claims of 2018

Monday , 4 February 2019 by Campbell Gibson

Blankets, sewing needles and hair ties aren’t what comes to mind when you think of a typical pet’s diet. Yet that’s exactly what some of the cats and dogs insured on PetCare policies with Southern Cross Pet Insurance ate in 2018.

The business has released its 10 most unusual PetCare claims* from last year, ranging from a French Bulldog eating a roll of dental floss to a veterinarian treating their first case of an intersex cat (a condition where the cat had both male and female sets of reproductive organs).

In one case a German Shepherd impaled itself on a metal shoe rack trying to escape a pair of aggressive cats. Treatment at the veterinary clinic cost more than $8,000.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance General Manager Anthony McPhail says the list shows how even every day accidents can end up costing a lot of money at the veterinary clinic.

"Most of the claims we process each year are for fairly typical illnesses and routine checks," he says. "But we also receive some that surprise us, particularly the range of ways pets test the limits of their digestive system."

McPhail says while claims such as these are sometimes amusing, they can require a serious procedure, such as surgery, which is stressful for both the pet and their owner.

"When New Zealanders have an accident or need medical treatment we’re fortunate that our public health system covers most of the costs, but our furry friends don’t have the same luxury. This means owners can sometimes find themselves paying thousands of dollars to get their pets the treatment they need.

"We recommend owners prepare for those unexpected veterinary visits by either setting some money aside or considering pet insurance."

New Zealand has the second highest pet ownership rate in the world* but pet insurance rates here are low compared to other countries.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance’s 10 most unusual PetCare claims of 2018, including the procedure cost:

  • A German Shepherd needed two surgeries and post-operative care after accidentally trapping itself in a room with two cats and impaling its leg on a metal shoe rack in an effort to escape. Procedure cost: $8,437
  • A Labrador Retriever required surgery to remove pieces of the blanket it had eaten. Procedure cost: $6,000
  • A Beagle had its kidneys flushed due to renal failure after it ate a home-made fruit cake, which caused raisin toxicity. Procedure cost: $2,990
  • A Miniature poodle had an entire chicken skewer it had eaten endoscopically removed. “Amazingly, it came out whole,” the owner said. Procedure cost: $3,197
  • A Border Collie was forced to vomit the shards of a compact make-up mirror it had eaten. Procedure cost: $395
  • A female Domestic Short-Hair cat underwent surgery to remove a tumour. It was in fact an interstitial (testicular) tumour, caused by a retained testicle. The veterinarian said it was the first intersex case they had seen in 13 years of practice. Procedure cost: $2,531
  • A Domestic Long Hair cat required surgery to remove a sewing needle it had eaten. Procedure cost: $1,968
  • A French Bulldog had multiple incisions to remove a whole roll of dental floss that had unravelled in its intestines. The dog ate the floss after rummaging through a visitor’s bag. Procedure cost: $2,873
  • A Devon Rex cat had 46 hair ties surgically removed from its stomach. Procedure cost: $2,019
  • A Shetland Sheepdog was treated for eating dish cloths on two separate occasions. In the first instance it was given antibiotics and lactulose to help pass the cloth naturally. The second time it was given apomorphine so it would throw up the cloth. Procedure cost: $222