Cleo's vet bills

8 February 2022 - 5 min read

I’m Heidi, social media manager at ManyPets and I wanted to tell you the story about my lovely dog.

In December of 2019, I was finally in a new house and a position where I could bring a dog into my life after wanting one my entire adult life.  Enter Cleo, the eight year old Golden Retriever.

Cleo was handed to the Dogs Trust at Harefield by her previous family. She was a very loved family pet, but her family were relocating to Turkey and were unable to take Cleo with them.

Throughout my time at ManyPets, I’ve heard all about our amazing customer’s pets. The cost of their vet bills, and the peace of mind that pet insurance can bring.

A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

Pet insurance with up to £15,000 lifetime vet fee cover.

A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

One thing was for certain, I was going to take out the most comprehensive cover for Cleo. This meant that when it came to her care, money wouldn’t be a deciding factor for the treatment she needed. And boy am I glad I did!

In early March 2020, Cleo started limping. Sporadically at first, just after she got the zoomies or had a long walk. We saw a vet on the first day her limp was visible and he told us it was probably just a soft tissue injury and she’d be fine.

Cleo saw that same vet multiple times over the following three months. Unfortunately Cleo finds the vets an extremely stressful experience meaning she would get nervous, her adrenaline would kick in and she would mask any pain – so the vet was never able to see her lame. Thankfully, I was armed with a library of videos of her struggling.

In June 2020, the vet agreed to do some x-rays. They were unremarkable. Nothing really could be seen that would suggest why she was so lame. The cost of these x-rays were £800. I claimed the costs of these through Cleo’s insurance.

The vet didn’t have any further solutions for us and he wouldn’t prescribe Cleo with pain relief as he didn’t believe her to be in pain. I decided to change vets and see if I could find somebody who was an expert in arthritis/orthopaedics as I felt very strongly that Cleo was in pain. And we needed a diagnosis to allow her to live her best life as she deserves.

I was referred to a local specialist hospital to see the head of orthopaedics there. He conducted further x-rays of Cleo’s legs and back, took samples of the fluid around her elbows but again, he wasn’t able to provide a diagnosis.

There were changes in Cleo’s joints/back consistent with an older dog but nothing that could definitively explain why she was so uncomfortable. The cost of this was £2,917 and again this was covered by ManyPets.

This vet sent us home with some anti-inflammatories and a recommendation for Cleo to do hydrotherapy. I was more than happy for Cleo to start hydrotherapy as I knew this was covered on her policy and I had a sneaking suspicion that she’d thoroughly enjoy it. She absolutely loves it!

Unfortunately, Cleo got worse. I had made many changes to our house to try and keep her comfortable. I pored over literature about canine arthritis to see what more I could do for her.

I covered every inch of wooden flooring in my house in rugs so Cleo wouldn’t slip. I swapped her harness to a physiotherapist recommended one. I raised her dog bowl so she didn’t have to stretch to eat, I didn’t let her do stairs, run or zoom or anything that might aggravate her pain further. Eventually it got to a stage where I knew she needed more help.

I called the vet at the specialist hospital and sent him a video showing him how bad Cleo was. He suggested we start Cleo on a course of Gabapentin (a drug that targets neuropathic pain) as he was starting to suspect that perhaps something more neurological was going on.

After 10 days, Cleo very slowly started to look better. She’d climb up onto the sofa with us, she’d run out into the garden with a bit more enthusiasm, and overall seemed more like herself. It was a miracle!

For the next couple of months Cleo was in good shape, happy, and comfortable and we enjoyed some lovely walks, and focused on getting Cleo’s fitness back up.

Unfortunately after Christmas she started to look uncomfortable again; nowhere near the previous levels but I decided after much deliberation that rather than letting her potentially get worse I was going to call the specialist again.

I explained to him what was going on. He said Cleo should have a neurological exam as her positive response to Gabapentin suggested that something was going on that may be found by one of their neurology team.

But given how stoic Cleo can be, he asked us to take her off of all medication so she could be examined thoroughly without anything being masked or hidden. This week we duly took Cleo to be examined and again there was nothing immediately obvious.

There was some definite pain when they tried to extend her shoulder but other than, that Cleo seemed happy enough. They didn’t think a further scan on Cleo’s legs would be beneficial given there were no findings previously, but they felt it was time for an MRI scan on her neck.

Finally on the 5th of March 2021, one year and £7,500 later we finally know exactly what has been causing Cleo’s lameness. And more importantly we have a good idea of how to treat it.

Cleo has some inflamed nerves in her neck, which explains why they have never been able to find anything on the examinations of her legs!

I received my invoice today for Cleo’s visit to the vets this week, it was another £3,717. I forwarded this to my colleagues jokingly and said ‘thank god for pet insurance’'

Pet insurance has enabled us to get this extremely complicated diagnosis and given us the opportunity to work with the absolute best vets for her and finally get her on the road to recovery.