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Plastic Surgery For Pets?? [07/09/2011]

Don’t be fooled by the heading, but if you thought cosmetic surgery was reserved for the likes of Katie Price and Donatella Versace, then think again as it seems our pets are now getting in on the act. According to Petplan, ‘plastic surgery’ claims from pet owners are on the rise. From facelifts and nose jobs to dental work, it seems now our cats and dogs are getting the rock-star treatment with procedures to enhance the droopiest nose and toothiest smile.

But fear not, the nation’s much loved dogs and cats are not following in the footsteps of the rich and famous for mere vanity, this rise in pet cosmetic surgery is helping them live healthier and more active lives. According to the pet insurance provider, claims worth a whopping £1.5 million were paid out on nose surgery in 2010 alone, with most cases being to either shorten a pet’s soft palate or widen its nostrils to help fix breathing issues.

One of the most common health issues affecting some dog breeds is Entropion - an inherited faulty eyelid condition that manifests in young adult dogs. This condition is when the eyelids scroll inwards and the eye lashes rub against the eye which gives them a red or sore appearance this leads to excessive squinting or tearing – this condition appears to be on the rise but is usually resolved by an eye lid lift. Petplan were in fact cited with 484 cases last year with a cost worth over one million pounds. Breeds that are particularly susceptible to this include Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, Chow Chows, Mastiffs, Retrievers, Rottweilers and Shar-Peis.

Now if you thought you’d paid enough for your own dental care, spare a thought for our fluffy friends as they have to think about their gnashers too. Petplan have stated that they are starting to see more and more pets having their teeth rebuilt which amounted to claims of just under £220,000 last year alone. These procedures including crowns are proven to be better for the animal rather than removing teeth all together.

Brian Faulkner (Petplan Vet of the Year) says, “So called plastic surgery is something we have to do regularly to improve the quality of lives in the pets we see as well and repair injuries and deformities. For example, facelifts are commonly required in breeds with excessively drooping eyelids, skin grafts for wounds, soft palate trimming in short faced breeds.”

Isabella von Mesterhazy, Petplan Head of Marketing, comments: “We know that 99% of pet owners consider their pets to be an integral member of the family so it’s no surprise that they will go to any length to ensure that their pet is able to lead a healthy and active life. With Petplan’s Covered for Life policy, your pet is not only covered for these types of genetic conditions which often require surgery but also for any ongoing rehabilitation or further treatment for the condition.” She continues “Petplan has actually seen a dramatic rise in claims like genetic skin conditions. In fact, a staggering £1.5 million was claimed on genetic skin conditions in 2010 in the UK alone, so it’s well worth preparing for any eventuality.”

One pet who knows about these cosmetic procedures is ‘Junior’ the Blood Hound who had to receive a doggy ‘facelift’ in 2009.

The skin on top of Juniors head didn’t grow properly and the weight of excess skin resulted in it falling forward and covering his eyes. From this he then developed Entropion, which in turn caused a corneal ulcer, leaving him in severe discomfort, worst case if left untreated he could even have gone blind. Thankfully, his owners did seek advice and spoke to specialist vet Gary Lewin through their insurer.

Gary is an expert on ophthalmic surgery for pets and gave Junior his facelift. The claim cost over £7,800 so Denise and David, Juniors’ owners were pleased they had the Petplan insurance. Dr Lewin, who performs hundreds of these types of cosmetic operations every year, said it was one of the most severe cases he had seen. Since his facelift Junior now lives a happy life in Yorkshire.

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