Get rates for your pet:

See My Rates »
Retrieve a Saved Quote

Pet Insurance Story: Bichon Frise’s Eyesight Saved With Surgery

By Christy True
May 13, 2021 • 4 min. read
Cute dog

Diagnosis: Torn retina

Claims Covered: $11,950 | Healthy Paws paid: $8,408

Coverage options: $250 | Reimbursement: 80%

Key Takeaways

  • Cleo, a Bichon Frise, was undergoing treatment for a cataract and her retina began to tear, threatening her eyesight.
  • Her pet parents drove eight hours to the nearest surgical hospital to get her the surgery she needed.
  • She has fully recovered and her pet parents can see the light in her eye again.

cute dogCleo is a three-year-old Bichon Frise, about 10 pounds of fluffy cuddle bug with a mischievous streak, said her pet parent Keisha, of Glendale Heights, Illinois. She has been the baby of the home since Corey, Keisha’s husband, allowed her to sleep in the bed shortly after she was adopted.

She wants to cuddle no matter what her pet parents are doing, and she won’t get up until they do.

“She will throw her body against you just to find her comfortable spot,” Keisha said.

Cleo also has a silly side, especially when it comes to her sister Snowie, a 10-year-old American Eskimo. Her favorite activity is teasing Snowie, stealing her toys or food for attention, Keisha said.

“She loves playing in the laundry. Whether it is warm, clean laundry or piles of laundry being sorted, she finds a way to make the chore fun. She will find the clean laundry, jump in and sit until we have folded every item,” Keisha said.

Canine cataract treatment takes a serious turn

Cleo was undergoing treatment for a juvenile cataract, and her retina started to tear as the cataract began to shrink.

Keisha and Corey learned from the veterinary ophthalmologist that Cleo’s torn retina would get worse if they did nothing, and quickly. They also learned that there are only a handful of veterinary surgeons in the U.S. that perform retinal re-attachment surgery on dogs and the nearest surgeon was an eight-hour drive from their home. And then there was the upfront cost to worry about.

“We were worried about how to come up with the payment for Cleo’s surgery in such a short time. Do we allow Cleo to go blind in one eye? I went back to the Healthy Paws website and learned about the Direct Pay option. I contacted Healthy Paws customer care and a representative called us back the same evening. She explained how Healthy Paws could help Cleo by paying the vet directly. Her words and actions lifted a huge weight off of our shoulders,” Keisha wrote.

Keisha and Corey loaded Cleo and Snowie into the car and they made the long road trip to Missouri, where the surgeon was located. She checked in with the Healthy Paws customer care team and was able to arrange direct pay to the hospital for the surgery.

“We met with the surgeon who discussed what could be done in the best- and worst-case scenarios; at best Cleo’s retina would be repaired, and her cataract would be removed and replaced with a new lens. If Cleo’s lens couldn’t be replaced, she would be farsighted. And with that, we returned to the hotel and waited for the call from the clinic,” she said.

Fortunately, Cleo’s surgery went better than expected. Her retina was repaired, and her lens replaced. Her eye pressure was high on the follow-up visit, but once they returned home the pressure had returned to normal.

cute dogCleo fully recovers

After a few days, Cleo’s pet parents could see a noticeable difference in her eyesight. Her right eye, once dim due to the cataract, now has light.

“Seeing the yellow light reflections in her eyes is a wonderful blessing. It is a reminder that she can see us clearly, something that she hasn’t been able to do in several months,” Keisha wrote.

After about a month on a strict medication regimen, Cleo returned to her playful, cuddly self.

“The most important aspect of her recovery is that Cleo is back to teasing Snowie and finding her favorite cuddle spot,” Keisha said.

How Healthy Paws pet insurance helped

Cute dogKeisha signed up for pet insurance over a year ago after Snowie suffered from a seizure and they were shocked at how expensive the emergency room visit was.

“I looked at a number of pet insurance companies and when I read the reviews from happy pet parents, I knew Healthy Paws was the company for us,” she said.

Keisha said without the option of having Healthy Paws pay the vet directly, they would have had no choice but to allow Cleo to go blind in her right eye.

“Thank you for eliminating this option for us,” she told the Healthy Paws customer care team.

About Direct Pay to the veterinarian

In situations where customers cannot pay their vet at the time of treatment, they may contact us for payment directly to their vet. If a veterinary hospital is willing to accept direct payment, Healthy Paws can work with them to expedite access to a customer’s pet’s medical records and the processing of a claim. This direct payment option is available for any licensed vet across the U.S.; it is not limited to any specific network of vets. Direct payment may be requested during business hours by calling customer care at (855) 898-8991.

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

Protect your pets from those unexpected illnesses like cancer, which the Healthy Paws plan covers. Get a quote and make sure you’re covered for those dog and puppy mishaps and unpleasant surprises.

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.

Show more