Get rates for your pet:

See My Rates »
Retrieve a Saved Quote

A Slip on the Ice Leads to Major Surgery for Pup

By Christy True
published: March 22, 2023 • 3 min. read
Zip, a mixed-breed dog.

Diagnosis: Hip Luxation
Cost: $4,594 | Healthy Paws reimbursed: $3,647
Coverage options:  80 percent reimbursement | $250 deductible

Zip is an exceptionally sweet, cuddly two-year-old “Super Mutt” (bully/pit bull/cocker spaniel/yorkie mix), says his pet parent Adam. With people, he can be a little shy at first, but he usually warms up if they let him sniff a bit and come to them first.

“Perhaps my favorite thing about Zip is his sweetness towards me. When I’m taking a nap or going to sleep at night, he immediately nuzzles up to me under the covers (another one of his favorite places). Or when I need a break when I’m working from home, I will lay down with him and his first instinct is to cuddle with me, oftentimes placing his head in the crevice of my neck,” Adam said.

A wonderful mix of playful and chill, Zip loves other dogs, and the dog park is one of his favorite places.

Adam and Zip, the super mutt.
Adam and Zip at a ballgame.

A slip on the ice causes limping

So, it was on one icy morning in January 2022 that Adam and Zip had gone for their usual morning walk to the dog park near their home in Washington D.C. As he was playing, Zip seemed to slip on the ice because later that day, he was hopping on three legs.

Adam took him to the vet the next day and he was diagnosed with a luxation of the femoral head, or dislocation of the hip joint. Sometimes the hip bone can be put back in place non-surgically, but the veterinarians determined that Zip would need a femoral head ostectomy (FHO).


Major surgery needed

With FHO surgery, the ball and top of the hip bone are removed. According to VCA animal hospitals, the leg muscles will initially hold the femur in place, and over time, scar tissue forms to provide cushioning which is referred to as a ‘false joint.’ Although this joint is anatomically different from a normal hip joint, it provides pain-free mobility in most patients.

Zip, the mixed breed dog on the couch.

Two months later, Zip underwent surgery, which was a success.

Zip still had to undergo rehabilitation for a few months to stretch and strengthen his legs and hips. For the first two weeks after the surgery, Adam and Zip performed range of motion exercises such as hip extensions, digit stretches, and Achilles heel stretches three times daily. In weeks two through eight, Zip worked on gentle strengthening including doggie squats, walking over legs, and standing with front leg lifts. 

How Zip is doing today

Now, about a year later, Zip is fully healed and thriving.

“After a few long months of physical therapy and limited activity, Zip returned to that same dog park in the spring with a newly healed hip and the same puppy energy as he played with his doggy friends for the first time since January,” Adam said.

How pet insurance helped

Even though he was a first-time pet owner, Adam decided to enroll in pet insurance because he thought it was the responsible thing to do.

“I wanted to have the peace of mind that I could care for him without financial strain,” he said. “Throughout this whole ordeal, Healthy Paws was an ally and financial lifesaver. As a young dog owner, having pet insurance meant the difference between financial crisis and a fiscal lifeline.”

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 persons providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.

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.

Show more