Routine Wellness Exam Revealed Zelda’s Periodontal Disease

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4 min read
4 min read

Updated - Feb 20th, 2024

Who?  Zelda, a super mutt

How old? 13 years old

What happened? Advanced periodontal disease

Cost of treatment $6,900

Pumpkin plan paid back* $6,071

Supermutt Zelda is a unique and quirky canine who often displays oddly feline behavior. She cleans herself like a cat, licking her paws and then rubbing them on her face. Her legs turn out slightly, and she constantly has her feet in “first position” like a ballerina.

Zelda has a captivating gaze thanks to her heterochromia – one eye is brown, and the other is blue. Zelda is a master at piercing eye contact that penetrates your soul. Her mom Alyssa quips that Zelda “has often been described as having a perpetually unimpressed expression that leaves you feeling slightly judged.”

In her senior years, wellness checks are essential to ensure Zelda’s health is in tip-top condition. Her vet checks her body from head to tail and performs parasite testing to detect any infections. They also check her teeth and gums to see if any periodontal disease is present.

“At a standard wellness checkup, the vet identified that Zelda had some periodontal disease and it was recommended she go in for treatment. The vet felt like the progression of the disease could lead to longer-term health issues if not treated.”

Alyssa, Zelda’s mom

Periodontal disease is extremely common in both dogs and cats. In fact, an estimated 70% of cats and 80% of dogs develop some form of periodontal disease by age three.1 Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause dangerous infections as pets swallow harmful bacteria that then spread to major organs, like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. 

While pet parents can keep periodontal disease at bay by maintaining a good dental care routine, this sometimes isn’t enough to completely ward off periodontal disease. Some dog breeds are simply more prone to developing this condition. For some dogs adopted later in life, it’s possible they may not have received adequate dental care in their life before finding their forever home. 

Alyssa sought further advice to determine what the best treatment would be for Zelda.

“We brought Zelda to a dental specialist, who felt it was likely that she’d have to have teeth removed. The vet suggested having a professional anesthesiologist be present, as well as advanced X-rays that would help them better identify any issues.”

Alyssa was initially concerned about putting Zelda under anesthesia. This is a concern many pet parents share and can sometimes keep them from getting professional dental cleanings or advanced dental treatment. 

“There can be many reasons pet parents are nervous about professional dental cleanings and treatment: previous anesthesia experience, discomfort, scared of being separated from their pet for the day, etc…The anesthesia concern is usually addressed by understanding that blood work is required before the procedure to make sure overall health is good and we have all the monitoring equipment to make sure ALL our vital and things like EKG, Blood Pressure, SPO2, EtCO2 are all monitored throughout the procedure.”

Dr. Mondrian Contreras, DVM

After investigating further, the dental specialist determined that over half of Zelda’s teeth needed to be removed! The procedure required a host of care options: surgery, anesthesia, IV fluids, Rx meds, laser therapy, and more. The specialist also asked Alyssa if she’d like to pick Zelda up immediately following the procedure, or if they could monitor her for a few more hours. Alyssa agreed for the team to monitor Zelda to ensure she had a good recovery. 

“I was extremely nervous about the anesthesia because she’s an older dog and has an ongoing liver issue. The ability to have a professional anesthesiologist monitor her during the procedure, and have her remain at the hospital for additional care, made me feel much more comfortable.” 

In total, the treatment Zelda needed came to an expensive $7,000. While Alyssa knew it would be costly to give Zelda the best care options, she felt comfortable saying yes to this level of care as she knew her Pumpkin Pet Insurance plan would be there to support her. Pumpkin plans cover a range of eligible treatments for periodontal disease, so Alyssa’s plan reimbursed her for 90% of her eligible bills, totaling $6,071 in cash back. 

“It was a lot of extra money and it was amazing to just say yes without thinking twice. Zelda’s procedure and all of the additional care options were covered by our Pumpkin insurance plan. She’s been doing great since then, even with half her teeth gone!”

Please Note: Sponsored Ad. The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

*Example illustrates reimbursement of an eligible claim at a 90% reimbursement rate, the annual deductible had already been satisfied and the annual limit had not yet been met. Coverage and reimbursement results vary based on policy options.

Pumpkin Team

Pumpkin Team

Passionate Pet Experts & Parents
We are a team of writers, designers & product developers who all double as passionate (ok, obsessive) nerds of the pet world.
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