Friday, January 6, 2012

Lives Saved: Dexter by Erin Selby with Dr. Leanne Taylor, DVM

They may walk on four legs and have a fur coat but our pets aren’t that different from us - especially when it comes to their health. Just like us, things happen unexpectedly.  Whether it is an emergency situation or a serious health condition, our pets are not immune to the unanticipated, the unforeseen, and the unpredictable. And just like us, health insurance can play a huge part in whether the unexpected becomes an unbearable financial burden.

While any pet can become ill or require urgent care in case of an emergency, purebred animals are often born with inherent health problems. English Bulldogs are one of these breeds. Dexter is the reason people adopt English Bulldogs.  He is friendly, expressive, playful, and full of character. All of this is packed into the most compact little short-nosed body, in other words: ADORABLE.  He is also an example of why it is so important to invest in pet insurance. 
Dexter, in all his adorable glory!
Dexter was rushed to Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care with uncommonly severe complications from a soft palate surgery performed at another practice. Poor Dexter was bleeding excessively into his airways and needed immediate care. BRVC brought in a specialist surgeon right away to control the bleeding and perform a tracheostomy in order to help him breathe. 

Bulldogs and other short nosed breeds such as Pugs, Pekinese, French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, are brachycephalic breeds. These pets are born with anatomical problems due to their short faces and stocky bodies. The most common of these problems is a long soft palate, (the fleshy part of the roof of the mouth) that will cover the airway and contribute to problems breathing.  Brachycephalic dogs often require soft palate surgery in order to help resolve breathing issues. Most of the time these procedures go smoothly, but sometimes complications arise, as in Dexter’s case.   
Dexter and all English Bulldogs are brachycephalic
In addition to the complications that arose from his original procedure, Dexter developed pneumonia (another condition Bulldogs are prone to). Altogether, Dexter required nearly two weeks of hospitalization and follow-up care and underwent three major surgeries in the span of eight days. Everyone at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center became very attached to the little fighter. The specialists, doctors, and technicians attending to Dexter did all they could to help keep the little guy going. His very dedicated owner became a common sight in the hospital halls and spent hours by the side of his beloved pet. It was touch and go for awhile but Dexter eventually pulled through and made a full recovery. He now breathes better than ever and is back to his adorable, playful ways.

Three surgeries. Weeks of hospitalization. Medications and hourly treatments. Follow up care. All of these things add up, and they add up fast. Dexter’s owners loved him deeply and wanted to do everything that could possibly be done to save his life. Fortunately they had signed Dexter up with Pet Plan Insurance when he was younger. Pet Plan is one of the few pet insurance companies that cover hereditary and congenital conditions, which makes it a great choice for purebred pets. While they worried about his health and whether he would make it through the night, they never had to worry about whether or not they could afford treatment. In the end, Pet Plan paid almost 90% of Dexter’s medical care. Talk about peace of mind (and wallet)!
Dexter wants you to pet him...
Dexter is now a regular at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center where he comes in for the decidedly non-emergency kind of visit to have his toe nails trimmed, along with lots of TLC. He has everyone there wrapped around his chubby little paw. The unexpected and unforeseen happened to Dexter. He needed help and he needed it fast. Luckily, he had an excellent insurance plan that allowed his family the financial freedom to spare no expense when it came to Dexter’s health.


  1. I have a mini-schnauzer and we have him currently covered under VPI. I'm wondering if they cover any kind of hereditary and congenital conditions. I would assume all insurance would covere these types of things, but now I'm definitely going to check since Schnauzer's notoriously have problems with their endocrine system. Thanks for sharing! I'm going to do my research ASAP.

  2. My dog has had both knee's done, now has plates so we call him bionic. He is 7 years old.
    Can I still get pet insurance for him?
    I hope the worst is past but still would like to have protection, "Just in case"

  3. While most pet insurance companies will not offer coverage for pre-existing conditions, some have plans that offer coverage for accidents and emergencies. A great site to visit to do a little research on the different plans available is

  4. Great Story! We Love Dexter!