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"Wish I’d had pet insurance" story – close encounter with dental floss

Continuing the theme for Pet Health Insurance Month, here’s a story from the ”oldie but goodie” category, which is one of the first pet health stories I was told when I started researching pet insurance way back in 2002.

Peter was one of my classmates at Wharton and here is his story in his words at the time:

Pet Parents:  Peter and Jennifer
Who:            Stanley, 5 years old black & white cat we got from the pound as a kitten
When:          October 2002
Where:         Philadelphia, PA

What:           Linear obstruction of the intestines
How much:   $2,100 (about $3,400 in today’s dollars using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics veterinary inflation stats)

Stanley threw up a couple of times one evening.  No big deal, since cats do so occasionally.  But when I came home the next evening, he had continued to throw up, ultimately just small amounts of clear fluid since he hadn’t been able to eat much.

That night I continued to keep an eye on him.  The throwing up continued and he became increasingly lethargic. So around midnight, we were off to the University of Pennsylvania pet hospital.  After a $500 x-ray and some injected fluids for dehydration, we were sent home around 3:30 am, when the Resident couldn’t see much in the Xrays.  Further tests would have cost significantly more, so we decided to take Stanley to his regular Vet the next day.

Our Vet, more experienced, immediately noticed that Stanley’s small intestines were starting to “accordion” and if untreated would likely perforate, killing him within days.  She said he likely had a linear obstruction. Stanley was in surgery within hours. 

Another $1,600 dollars and number of hours later, we were notified that Stanley was doing fine and were asked if wanted to keep the two-foot piece of minty dental floss that had lodged itself in his intestines.  We opted for the cat only.  Stanley has fully recovered and we now flush our used floss down the toilet instead of throwing it into the garbage can.

Suffice it to say, the dental floss in our household is flushed as well.

Related Posts:
September is Pet Health Insurance Month
“Wish I’d had pet insurance” story – painful choice to euthanize
“Wish I’d had pet insurance” story – close encounter with dental floss

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