Pup Lola Braves Surgery After Unexpected CCL Tear

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5 min read
5 min read

Updated - Jun 16th, 2023

Who? Lola the German Shepherd

How old? 2.5 years

What happened? Lola tore her knee ligament, and needed surgery

Cost of treatment: $5,839

Pumpkin plan paid back: $5,255

The suspicious activities of the cows across the road are a top concern for two-year-old pup, Lola. She avidly monitors and often barks at those weird moving black-and-white shapes. When she’s not on bovine patrol, Lola loves a tennis ball chase, a good squeaky toy, and a game of tug-o-war. 

Lola is close with her three cat siblings and loves to cuddle up with her favorite, Asher, to take long naps. Her mom describes Lola as a sweet, super-active girl whose favorite summer activity is chasing water from the garden hose. 

Lola is a German Shepherd, and for large, athletic dog breeds like hers, cruciate ligament (a.k.a. knee ligament) injuries are all too common. This is the ligament that connects a dog’s thigh bone with the lower leg bone. An injury in this area is common for young and adult dogs as a result of sudden trauma. When dogs run around and play, a sudden change in direction can twist or put excess weight on their knee, causing a partial or full tear of their canine cruciate ligament, or CCL.   

This is exactly what happened to poor Lola. When Lola suddenly injured her leg, she showed classic signs of a CCL injury: pain, whimpering, and keeping weight off one leg (also known as toe-touching). Her mom Stephanie held out hope that the injury was only a pulled muscle or a sprain that could be easily treated.

“When Lola first injured herself, we hoped it was something simple like a pulled muscle. With no improvement in symptoms after several rounds of meds and treatments, it was confirmed that Lola had a CCL tear which was devastating to us. We couldn’t watch her limp around and be in pain for the rest of her life because that just wouldn’t be fair to her.”

Sadly for Lola and her mom, radiographs confirmed that Lola had indeed torn her CCL. She needed a specific type of surgery called TPLO surgery to repair it. Surgery, like any complex medical procedure, can come at a high cost – both emotionally and financially. While Stephanie knew the road ahead wouldn’t be easy, she wanted to give Lola the best possible chance to recover fully.

“Lola is a very active and young German Shepherd so we knew that surgery would be best to allow Lola to regain full function. We also realized this journey was going to be intense and stressful at (pretty much all) times.”

Fortunately, during this difficult time, Stephanie felt confident accepting her veterinarian’s care and treatment recommendations because she knew she had the support of her Pumpkin Pet Insurance plan. Designed to cover unexpected injuries just like Lola’s CCL tear, Stephanie’s Pumpkin plan coverage enabled her to go ahead with the surgery and get the follow-up care that Lola needed. Stephanie filed a claim with her Pumpkin plan for the total cost of Lola’s treatment, which amounted to $5,839. Her Pumpkin plan reimbursed her 90%, which totaled a huge $5,255.* 

“Luckily, we never had to worry about the financial aspect because we enrolled in pet insurance when Lola was a puppy. We never had to use our insurance until this year and it has been a lifesaver!”

Stephanie’s forward-thinking preparation in getting pet insurance made it possible for Lola’s care team to give her the treatment needed to repair her CCL. Now, Lola’s on track to recover and return to her active, lively self.

It gives Stephanie pause to think about what might have happened if Lola hadn’t been enrolled in pet insurance coverage before her CCL injury. 

“I have thought a lot about the different scenarios had we not insured Lola. Would we be able to afford such an expensive surgery? What about any post-op issues that may arise? Would Lola’s care be delayed, increasing the damage to her knee, and resulting in early-onset arthritis? Fortunately for us, we don’t have to worry about the ‘what ifs’.”

The best news is that Lola’s Pumpkin plan will help support her if future accidents and illnesses happen. This is especially important for her breed, as German Shepherds are predisposed to common conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bloat. Plus, every pet’s health needs change as they move into their adult and golden years. 

With her mom’s dedicated care, an expert veterinary team, and her Pumpkin plan’s support, Lola has all the help she needs to live a long and healthy life. Knowing that not every pet parent is fortunate to have all the options she had for Lola’s care, Stephanie shared this message:

“I encourage everyone that I know to obtain insurance for their pets! Does it seem like an unnecessary expense? At times, of course, but when something happens (and it always does) you’ll be thankful for having it because it can ultimately be the difference between the life and death of your beloved pet.”

Time and time again, we hear the stories of pet parents who were caught off guard by a sudden emergency, and either struggled to afford or were not able to afford their pet’s treatment. We encourage pet parents to get pet insurance when their pets are young so that they have coverage if accidents and illnesses happen in the future. Having that coverage is priceless, as it helps you face the unexpected with confidence, instead of stress and regret. 

Our mission at Pumpkin is to continue supporting pet parents and veterinary staff so that ALL pets have help accessing the best care when they get sick or hurt. This way, more pups like Lola are able to bounce back from the unexpected!

Thinking about getting pet insurance? You can fetch a free quote from Pumpkin today!


*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.

Emma Radmilovic

Emma Radmilovic

Emma is Pumpkin’s copywriter – she’s a dog & cat lover and never misses a chance to write a cheesy pet pun!
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