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Sa El is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance and a licensed Insurance Agent with over 16 years of experience in the industry. ...
HomePet InsuranceYoung Dog Contracts Tetanus; Hospitalized for 16 Days

Young Dog Contracts Tetanus; Hospitalized for 16 Days


Diagnosis: Tetanus / UTI
Cost: $18,469 | Reimbursed: $14,328
Coverage options:  80 percent | $250 deductible

Palmer, a four-year-old German shepherd mix, is a happy, affectionate boy, said his pet parent, Jennifer. He loves to fetch and play with his big brother Bruce, a Foxhound mix.

Palmer develops tetanus

Palmer suddenly had a run of health problems starting in June 2022 when he was only two years old. He developed a cut on his toe, possibly from jumping on a fence, and he licked it until the wound opened up.

Jennifer took him to the vet where he was treated with antibiotics and given a boot and cone to prevent further licking.

Shortly after, Jennifer knew something was wrong because his ears looked “pinched” and he stopped eating. They returned to the vet where they diagnosed him with tetanus, a rare but dangerous condition caused by toxins entering the bloodstream. Poor Palmer had to spend 16 days in the emergency vet hospital on a feeding tube and 24-hour intravenous antibiotics. The veterinarians told Jennifer that Palmer had about a 50 percent chance of survival.

Fortunately, Palmer pulled through and had no lingering effects of the tetanus. However, he developed a urinary tract infection (UTI), perhaps because of the hospital stay and treatment. The UTI was treated with more antibiotics and cleared up.

Jennifer is not sure where Palmer contracted tetanus. The bacteria are shed in animal feces and can survive in dirt or dust for years. Once they enter a wound, they can reproduce rapidly and produce a toxin. The emergency vet said she had only seen three cases in 15 years of practice.

Protect your pet

How pet insurance helped

Jennifer had seen how pet insurance could make a difference for her own family. Growing up, she had a cat whose end-of-life care was prohibitively expensive. They then had a dog who was covered by insurance, and the end-of-life costs were much more manageable.

She has both her dogs covered by Healthy Paws, and she said they could not have afforded the $13,000 just for the tetanus care and hospitalization without it. Jennifer chose Healthy Paws on a friend’s recommendation. She didn’t expect to need it so early in Palmer’s life, but she was glad she had it.

“Getting reimbursed was quick and easy,” she said.

Two mixed breed dogs

How Palmer is doing today

Today Palmer is completely recovered and shows no damage from his ordeal.

“Thanks to Healthy Paws, we were able to get him the best care available. He survived and had no lasting effects from his illness. He is now a happy and healthy four-year-old who is very well loved,” Jennifer said.

The claim scenarios described here are intended to show the types of situations that may result in claims. These scenarios should not be compared to any other claim. Whether or to what extent a particular loss is covered depends on the facts and circumstances of the loss, the terms and conditions of the policy as issued, and applicable law.

Insured persons providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.