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Aussie Develops Epilepsy; Thrives with Treatment

By Christy True
published: December 11, 2023 - updated: December 12, 2023 • 3 min. read
Ivy the Aussie

Diagnosis: Epilepsy
Cost: $6,464 Healthy Paws reimbursed: $4,422
Coverage options:  80 percent reimbursement | $250 deductible

Ivy is a a seven-year-old Australian Shepherd who is incredibly smart and what her pet parents call a “Velcro dog” – always attached to one of them. 

She uses her herding instinct to roll large balls around the yard. And, she’s protective – if a postal worker or express mail truck is around, everyone knows it, said her pet parent Sal.

“She expresses herself until they depart – our local mail person actually laughs as she passes watching Ivy dance at the front window,” Sal said.

Ivy had a seizure

About a year ago, Ivy suddenly had a full-blown seizure, with convulsions and a loss of coordination. “It only lasted a minute but it was extremely scary for all of us,” Sal said. The family took her to the vet, who suggested they see a neurologist.

Ivy the Aussie

Sal said they are fortunate to have a critical care facility with a top neurology team nearby. They diagnosed her with late-stage epilepsy and recommended a treatment plan. The family began monitoring any time Ivy had a seizure, whether it be a focal (one part of the body) or the more serious grand-mal, characterized by whole-body stiffness and convulsions.

While epilepsy is entirely treatable, the costs can add up as the dog will likely require medication throughout their life to treat the symptoms.

Sal worked with the specialty vets to determine the best medications and dosages for Ivy’s seizures. They also removed some food additives, such as rosemary extract, that have been reported to contribute to seizures. They will take Ivy in for check-ups twice a year to ensure she is responding well to the treatment.

They also made a few changes to the house to ensure Ivy is safe in case of a seizure.

Protect your pet

How Ivy is doing today 

Ivy still has seizures about every six to seven weeks, but they are much reduced in severity, Sal said. She is otherwise happy, energetic and playful.

“It is with joy that she comes three times a day to take her pills, of course with a little bit of cheese,” he said.

How pet insurance helped

Sal signed up for pet insurance with Ivy because of previous experience with vet bills. They had two beautiful Siberian Huskies that both lived to be over 15. But, one of the dogs developed leptospirosis at the age of 10. Treatment, which included an emergency vet visit and a hospitalization, cost the family $7,000.

“I vowed if we got another family pet, I would ensure we protected the rest of our family financially,” he said.   

Sal signed up for Healthy Paws through his employer, and while they made no claims for the first six years, they were glad the insurance was there when they needed it.

“We are blessed to have Healthy Paws on our side, and just this year we have been reimbursed over $3,900 in check-ups and prescriptions. I tell my story over and over about maybe you won’t need them, but if you do, they are right there. I remain amazed at how simple, quick and easy it is to file a claim and get reimbursement, typically in three days,” he wrote.

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.

Christy True and Tomas
By Christy True

Christy has been writing about pets for Healthy Paws for 28 dog years. She also coordinates media requests. A background in journalism may be why she enjoys writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and she volunteers with a local dog rescue. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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