Unusual pet insurance claims prove 2020 went to the dogs

Thursday , 18 March 2021 by Alaina McGregor

For some pet owners, 2020 proved to be even more stressful thanks to the mischievous antics of their furry friends, as revealed by Southern Cross Pet Insurance’s annual round-up of its weird and wonderful claims.

The list of pet insurance claims reveals dogs are more likely than cats to find themselves in tricky situations, and that even the most well-behaved pets can end up in stressful and costly mishaps.

Three poor pups had a bad shock when they were poisoned after eating things they shouldn’t have. One had eaten a pufferfish, another had played with an asthma inhaler and the third had eaten chives from the garden. Chives are in the Allium family which along with onions, garlic and leeks are poisonous to cats and dogs in higher doses. Luckily, after a swift visit to the vet, each pet made a full recovery.

Other unlucky dogs swallowed a rock, grass, sewing pins and socks, which all posed a danger to their health and required surgery to remove them. The most expensive claim paid was $15,000 for a dog that needed surgery after a sock got stuck in its bowel and caused complications.

Not to be outdone by all the dogs, a Bengal cat made the top 10 list by trying to defy gravity. The feline jumped out a window and landed on its owner’s palm tree – not once, but twice. Both times the cat had to get a palm spike removed from its paw, but the second time required surgery to extract it.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance General Manager Anthony McPhail said it can be scary for both owner and pet when an animal runs into trouble.

“These claims are a reminder that our beloved pets can end up in all manner of sticky situations, and to not underestimate how expensive vet bills can be. We hear many unusual stories from our customers about what their animals get up to and they are always grateful to have the peace of mind if their pets need medical treatment,” he said.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance’s 10 most unusual claims of 2020 were:

  • Rocky, a Jack Russell terrier, lived up to his name after eating a rock. He required exploratory surgery to find out why he was vomiting (claim paid - $1,616).
  • A Hungarian Visla chowed down on a container of sewing pins. He swallowed 26 and luckily managed to pass almost all of them without injury. Surgery to find the last one was unsuccessful but sticks and stones found in his stomach were successfully removed. The dog fully recovered (claim paid - $2,613).
  • A hungry Greyhound demolished a whole cheese platter and the vet had to induce vomiting (claim paid - $199).
  • A Labrador Cross ate so much grass, she ended up with a big ball of grass in her stomach that had to be surgically removed (claim paid - $4,938).
  • Another Labrador Cross ate things it shouldn’t. This one ate chives from the garden which are poisonous to dogs (claim paid - $605).
  • A Labrador Retriever ate parts of a dead puffer fish on the beach while its owners weren’t looking. They had to rush the dog to the vet in case she had tetrodoxin poisoning (claim paid - $328).
  • A Lagotto Romagnolo got his paws on an asthma inhaler and had to be treated by an after-hours vet as he had salbutamol toxicity (claim paid - $609).
  • A German Wire-Haired Pointer Cross ate multiple socks and one got stuck in his bowel. He had to have surgery to remove it (claim paid - $15,000).
  • A Miniature Toy Poodle swallowed a fishhook with bait on it and was left with the line and tracer hanging out of her mouth (claim paid - $1,419).
  • A Bengal cat twice jumped out a window and landed on a palm tree. Both times resulted in the feline needing to get a spike removed from its paw (claim paid - $783).