Rocky vs the rope toy – and the advantages of pet insurance!

Rocky, the goofy 7 month old golden retriever puppy, came bounding in the front door of Ebenezer Animal Hospital today, announcing his presence for all to hear. He’s been coming to the hospital since he was adopted at 6 weeks of age by his parents who over the moon in love with him and want only the best for their new child. To ensure he received everything he needed throughout his first few months of life, his parents elected to purchase the puppy package at EAH during his first visit. Lucky for us he was at the clinic every 3 weeks for the first 4 months of his life, allowing us to watch him grow. He’s an adorable puppy.  Strong willed, but adorable!

We were surprised when the parents called earlier today to get an appointment for Rocky. He was neutered last month and we weren’t expecting to see him until his 1 year visit, but it seems he has had a couple of bouts of vomiting and wasn’t interested in his breakfast this morning. Based on his symptoms, we wanted him to be seen sooner rather than later, so we worked Rocky and his worried parents into the appointment schedule.

When he arrived, Rocky was still his silly self, wagging his tail and greeting everyone with a kiss.  During his exam it appeared that his abdomen was slightly painful so the doctor felt that radiographs should probably be the next step. After viewing the x-rays and speaking with the parents about home life, the cause of the vomiting was discovered.  A “missing” rope toy.

Rocky’s parents purchased a brand new rope toy last week but weren’t able to find the toy after returning from work one day. They assumed it was lost under the couch, or buried in the yard.  Unfortunately, Rocky had decided the toy looked like a tasty snack and now it is lodged in his intestines.

So why are we writing about Rocky? A few reasons. Rocky is a typical puppy: getting into trouble and chewing on everything.  Toys are key to keeping those curious teeth off the furniture but the type of toy you give your pet is an important decision.  While the rope toy Rocky ingested is certainly fun, it should only be given to your dog while supervised.  If a toy is needed to keep your pet entertained while you are away, look into appropriately sized “indestructible” toys like Nylabones or frozen Kongs.  They are much less likely to ingest them and can spend hours chewing without much destruction.

Another key issue with Rocky’s story is the cost involved with removing the toy.  Unfortunately, surgery is the only option at this point. Failure to remove it immediately will result in permanent damage to the intestines and the situation may turn fatal quickly.  His parents were obviously not counting on the cost involved with emergency surgery at such a young age, but thankfully made a decision five months ago that will help them today. Right after adoption they looked into pet insurance and elected to pay a monthly fee to protect Rocky in case of emergencies or illness.  They can now focus on Rocky’s care instead worrying about the finances involved.  After a copay, the insurance company will cover the rest of the surgery and care needed. With a few weeks of recovery, Rocky will go back to his fun loving ways (hopefully this time with appropriate toys).

Pet insurance can be a life saver.  It certainly seems like a burden to pay a monthly fee to insure your pet but most of us wouldn’t even consider not carrying insurance on ourselves.  While it’s depressing to think of the negative things that can happen to furry companions, it’s important that we are prepared for what may cross their paths.  Unfortunately, accidents and illness happen.  The dog darts out the door and gets hit by a car… the cat develops hypothyrioidism… an ACL is blown while running in the park… the doctor diagnoses cancer.

Obviously, we do what we can to protect our pets but even the best owners can’t shield them from everything. If you were Rocky’s parents would you be ready to handle the situation?  Prevention and preparedness are the keys to keeping your pet healthy and happy for years to come.  Rocky’s parents selected a policy that fit them best, which ultimately allowed Rocky to have surgery as recommended.  We are glad to report that Rocky is now doing well at home with his family… returning to the silly, happy puppy that we know and love.

You can find more information on pet insurance on our website,  You will also find a link to Trupanion Insurance, as well as a review of the different companies available.  We chose Trupanion to list on our site because of it’s high customer service rankings and plan offerings.  Trupanion covers most genetic conditions, offers a variety of deductible options, has no payout limits, and will not increase your premium because you file a claim.  They are one of many companies available to you.  Pet Insurance is one way to be prepared when emergencies arise and can ultimately help you say yes to a procedure that may otherwise be financially impossible.

April Splawn
Hospital Administrator/Owner
Ebenezer Animal Hospital

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online!

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.