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Dog Recovers from Cancer with Surgery, Radiation

By Christy True
April 14, 2023 • 4 min. read
Josie, a cute dog with a crown.

Diagnosis: Cancer
Cost: $17,079 | Healthy Paws reimbursed: $14,486
Coverage options:  80 percent reimbursement | $100 deductible

Pet parent Michael adopted his 13-year-old dog Josie in 2014 when he was diagnosed with a serious and chronic illness.  His doctor had recommended a dog for companionship and to motivate him to get out and walk.

Michael rescued Josie, a cross between a miniature pinscher and a chihuahua. While Michael is managing the symptoms of his illness and its medications, his love for Josie is everlasting.

“She has been a blessing every day since. They often say, ‘Who rescued whom?’ and in my case, it is so very true. She has been my reason to get up each and every day,” he said.

The first few years, Josie’s health was stable, with just a couple of bouts of diarrhea and an allergic skin reaction. 

A lump on Josie’s chest

Then in early 2020, Josie developed a small lump on her chest, near her front leg. Michael took her to the vet and the doctor examined the lump, performed a needle draw, and said that it was just fatty tissue, and it didn’t need to be removed.

Shortly after, the lump began to grow rapidly, and the vet then recommended removing it. Josie was scheduled to undergo surgery in mid-March, on the day much of the U.S. went into quarantine for Covid-19.

Josie, a cute dog recovering from radiation.
Josie now has white fur in the area where radiation was applied.

At first, the vet said she did not think it was cancer but a benign lump. After about a week, Michael heard from the vet again. She had received the lab results and now said it was cancer.

“The vet was shocked with the results as there was no indication it was malignant. I was devastated,” Michael said.

Michael took Josie to see an oncologist. On the visit, the vet recommended a computed tomography (CT) scan to see inside her body. After reviewing the results, the vet recommended radiation treatments, optimistically giving Josie an 85 to 90 percent success rate.

The CT scan was $2,700 and Michael was told the radiation treatments were going to cost more than $7,500.

“I took my baby home that night. I looked in her eyes, and I knew that I had to have the treatments done, no matter the cost. I would pay anything to have my little girl stay with me, even if it was just a little while longer. I didn’t know how much Healthy Paws would pay, but I knew the costs were not going to be a factor,” he wrote. 

In the meantime, Michael had submitted a claim for the CT scan and had already been reimbursed for $2,100 at the 80 percent coverage level.

“I breathed a deep gasp of air… one of relief. I felt Healthy Paws standing up behind me, letting me know that they were going to be there for me, and my little girl,” he said.

For two weeks, Josie endured grueling radiation therapy (RT) treatment every day. Josie handled the treatments well and tests indicated it was a success in removing the cancer.

Michael submitted each of the 15 days of invoices via the Healthy Paws website. He was pleased and relieved to learn that Healthy Paws paid over $5,900 on the radiation claims.

How Josie is doing today

Josie, a cute dog with a bow tie.

Josie recovered extremely well after the radiation without lasting side effects. The side that was irradiated now has a large square of white hair instead of her coat of chestnut, Michael said.

Then late last year, Michael found another large lump on her chest. The doctor did a needle draw and again, it came back as fatty tissue. This time the doctor recommended it be surgically removed, given her history.

Josie underwent surgery at the end of December and fortunately, this time, the mass showed no signs of cancer. Now at 13 years old, should Josie develop another lump, a needle draw test will be adequate and she can avoid surgery if it doesn’t indicate cancer.

How pet insurance helped

Michael became convinced of the value of pet insurance when a friend had to pay over $17,000 for back surgery on her dog.

“I remember how painful it was to hear her cry, not sure of what to do. Should she put the dog to sleep? Or do the surgery? And she wondered how she was going to pay for it. It was a horrible situation. I knew then that I had to get a good pet insurance plan for Josie,” he said.

Michael researched pet insurance providers and narrowed it down to Healthy Paws based on the reviews and testimonials. Michael is now an advocate for pet insurance to his friends with pets.

“If you are thinking of getting insurance, don’t wait. It’s better to get it while your dog is young so that there are no pre-existing illnesses,” he said. “And if you are wondering what insurance to get, don’t wonder — go with Healthy Paws. Honestly, if something goes wrong, you will be glad you did. I know I am thrilled with the personalized service, sincere and caring tone, great website, ease of use, quick claim processing, and fast reimbursements.”

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 21 dog years. She previously worked in journalism, hence her penchant for writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and right now, Tomas, a Mexican street dog rescue, is staring at her because he wants a walk. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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