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Pet Insurance Story: Shepherd Suffers Pneumonia, Then Stomach Surgery

By Christy True
March 12, 2021 • 3 min. read
Rumba the shepherd

Diagnosis: Pneumonia and stomach issues

Claims: $6,960 | Reimbursed $5,177

Coverage options: 80 percent | $250 deductible

Rumba is a 72-pound German Shepherd with big brown eyes, who, like a typical shepherd, is highly communicative and barks and ‘talks’ a lot, said her pet parent Alison, who lives in Portland, Oregon.

She thrives on challenges and loves to play hide-and-seek with her favorite ball. Playing in snow and water is also high on her list of activities.

Rumba the shepherdShe loves her brother, Chico (also a shepherd), more than anything, and she’s protective of her family, who she prefers to be with all the time.  She is happiest when they are all in the same room, Alison says.

Rumba’s health issues started one Saturday night when she had a little cough. When they awoke the next morning, Rumba was completely listless and breathing rapidly. They rushed her to the emergency vet where she was diagnosed with aspirant pneumonia.

Because of COVID-19, Alison and her husband Milko sat in the parking lot for 16 hours, waiting for Rumba to be stabilized. Finally, they were able to go home while Rumba was kept for two more days in recovery.

About a month later, Rumba suffered another medical emergency. It was Christmas Eve, and Rumba was sick all night, vomiting and shaking. The family again rushed to the emergency vet, where they suspected she might have swallowed a foreign object, based on some x-rays. Yet, when the doctors performed abdominal surgery, they found nothing except inflammation.

The veterinarians decided while they had her in surgery to perform a gastropexy, a procedure where they surgically ‘tack’ the stomach to the right side of the body wall. German Shepherds are prone to bloat and this technique prevents bloat from developing in the future.

The recovery from that surgery was challenging as Rumba couldn’t play or be off leash for six weeks. She also reacted to the sutures, which required another emergency visit.

Today, almost two months later, Rumba is finally back to normal. Her pet parents never did find out the underlying cause of either emergency.

Rumba the shepherd“She is as playful and vigilant as ever! We still wonder what caused her issues because she’s with us all the time, but we’re hoping we can go a LONG time without another visit to the emergency vet,” she said. Through it all, Alison is grateful she decided to get pet insurance for Rumba, and her other dog Chico. She said pet insurance has changed a lot since she last considered it many years ago.

“When we first got Chico, a friend told me about Healthy Paws. I was hesitant because 20 years ago with my last dog, insurance was very different. They didn’t cover anything and had breed restrictions. I’m SO glad we enrolled for both of our dogs,” she said.

Choosing Healthy Paws has paid off during a time of stress due to the pandemic.

“If we did not have the support from you all, I’m not sure what we would’ve done. This time is already financially stressful enough with the pandemic and all the vet bills have been huge. The fact that we have insurance makes it so much easier… and it’s not just that we have insurance, it’s the wonderful customer service you have, return time on claims, and ease of website,” she 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 people providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.

Protect your pets – and your wallet – by enrolling in pet insurance. Healthy Paws offers one simple plan to protect dogs and cats from any unexpected accidents or illnesses. Start by getting a free quote.

Are you a Healthy Paws pet parent with a recovery story to tell? We’d love to hear it! Send your pet’s story along with photos of your four-legged family member to

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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