An insurance for our animal companions

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Pets are best friends, counselors, playmates and loyal companions at the same time. If they become ill, this is not only a great emotional burden for owners, but can also quickly become financially distressing. A special pet insurance provides a remedy, but only for some patients.

A mobile phone video shows what at first was considered funny, but quickly became a serious problem: at less than a year old, dog Yuna suffers from so-called backward sneezing, a symptom that can occur when a dog's soft palate is too long or thick. "It slips backwards so that the dog can't breathe properly. The sneezing sounds like letting air out of a balloon", explains Claire Kesseler, Yuna's owner. Like many other owners, the 27-year-old knows the queasy feeling when you take your favourite four-legged friend to the vet's office, only to come home with more clarity but also a high bill.

Vaccination, check-ups, neutering, treatment – all this is part of the everyday life of a pet owner. Anyone who decides on a new furry, feathered or scaly family member also assumes responsibility for their medical care. Especially dogs and cats, which are considered to be the most popular pets in Europe, are a monthly cost factor for many that should not be underestimated – especially if cat or dog unexpectedly fall ill. Claire also received such a sudden diagnosis for Yuna, because the dog, like many other brachycephalic, i.e. short-headed dog breeds, suffered from BOAS, brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.

Increased disease in pedigree dogs

French and English bulldogs in particular, as well as pugs, suffer from deformities of the respiratory tract due to the overemphasis of their short snout acquired through breeding, which causes them to rattle, snore and generally often only breathe air in and out with difficulty. The young bulldog's vet found out that her nostrils were too narrow and her palate too large – both anatomical "defects" that could only be corrected by surgery. "We went to the vet clinic and got two extra opinions from other vets, but they all said we wouldn't get past surgery", Claire reports.

The treatment cost the couple over 1,000 euros, but Claire and Dan were able to have the majority of the sum reimbursed by their pet insurance. "My previous dog Milo was an Olde English Bulldog and because he was sick so often, Dan had the idea of taking out insurance for Yuna." A little reluctant at first – after all, none of the puppies in Yuna's litter had any problems and the bitch was not even a year old – Claire agreed to the proposal and took out a special pet insurance. "Dan knew about it through his insurer and we were very lucky with our timing, because when Yuna was operated on, we had barely made the initial period in which no costs are yet covered", the 27-year-old recalls.

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