Advanced Diagnostics Are Making All the Difference for Dolly’s Seizures

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3 min read
3 min read

Updated - Oct 5th, 2023

Who? Dolly, a shetland sheepdog

How old? 6 months

What happened? Dolly started having sudden seizures

Cost of treatment: $5,359

Pumpkin plan paid back*: $4,823

Affectionately known as “Dolly Barkon”, Dolly is a sweet shetland sheepdog pup with a quirky, fun-loving side. Just like her namesake, Dolly is outgoing and confident. You’ll often find her introducing herself to everyone at the dog park and playing with all the pups both large and small. 

While Dolly is extra friendly and loving to all humans and fellow dogs, her parents’ loud coffee grinder and ominous laundry basket are excluded from her good graces. Dolly loves extra large sticks (or, as we call them, branches), hot dogs, peanut butter, and her mom Alanna.

At only four months old, Dolly suddenly started experiencing seizure-like episodes. This was devastating for her mom Alanna, who had already experienced an illness like this before.

After losing my dog last summer to a brain tumor, it was very scary to find out that my new puppy was having neurological issues. Dolly was so small (only 4 months) and so many of the options on the table were worst-case scenarios that you would not want.

Expert veterinary care is required for neurological conditions in pets, as well as a range of advanced tests to diagnose conditions accurately. Dolly’s care team worked to rule out all possible causes of her seizures, such as toxin ingestion or brain inflammation. There was even a possibility that a congenital or hereditary condition could be behind Dolly’s illness.

As Dolly’s symptoms persisted, her care team needed to perform an MRI and a spinal tap to further investigate. An MRI scan is particularly useful as it creates images of the inside of a pet’s body, revealing the presence of things like tumors or joint injuries. Due to the equipment and expertise needed to administer MRI scans, they are one of the more costly procedures used to diagnose neurological conditions. Dolly was a brave girl through it all.

Dolly continued to have seizure-like episodes, so after other testing was done, I was recommended to a neurologist for an MRI and spinal tap. Despite the fact that she has had a lot of health issues at a young age, she doesn’t seem to mind going to the vet and is very good when we are there.

As crucial as an MRI scan was for Dolly, the cost of this procedure alone was $2,500. A sudden bill of this amount would be a financial burden for any family. Thankfully, Alanna insured Dolly with a Pumpkin plan early on, so she had her pet insurance plan coverage to help her access the best care. 

The total cost for Dolly’s diagnostic tests and care to manage her symptoms came to $5,359. Alanna had already met her deductible, so her Pumpkin Pet Insurance plan paid her back 90% of her eligible vet bills, which amounted to a massive $4,823 in money back. 

While many possibilities have been ruled out, the underlying cause of Dolly’s symptoms is still unknown. Her veterinary care team and her mom Alanna are continuing to diligently monitor her health. Even though Dolly’s health struggles are ongoing, Alanna is hopeful for the future and grateful for the high level of care she has been able to access for Dolly.

Thankfully, Dolly has received great care and we found a path forward that gives us a lot of hope that she will live a normal life despite these early challenges.


With her Pumpkin insurance plan to help her as she goes forward, Alanna knows she will continue to have the support she needs to give Dolly the best care possible.


*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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