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Farm Accident Lands Lab at Top Veterinary College for Life Saving Surgeries

Jessica Parsons of Indianapolis, Ind., is no stranger to farm life and neither is her female 2-year-old Labrador retriever, Charlie. But when Charlie slipped under a piece of farm equipment, it took two major surgeries at one of the nation’s top veterinary teaching hospitals to save her. Charlie’s tragic accident and miraculous comeback has earned her the title of June’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

The accident didn’t seem that bad at first. After Charlie slipped under a disc behind a tractor driven by Jessica’s farmer boyfriend, the dog was taken to a nearby animal hospital for cuts near her tail. But the next day, Charlie wasn’t able to stand up on her own. The veterinary staff recommended that Charlie be transferred to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. “The stress of the accident itself was enough, but then in the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘Can I afford this?’” said Jessica. “Having pet insurance to offset medical expenses gave me some reassurance to proceed with treatment.

Jessica left Charlie with the experts at Purdue, expecting her dog to have more tests and possible surgery the next day. She got a call later that night with a daunting update: Charlie had a spinal fracture and was bleeding internally from a damaged kidney, requiring fluids and medications to control her heart rate and blood count.

Jessica wasn’t sure she would ever see her dog again.

“My father was also scheduled to have surgery for cancer, so I was unable to be there with Charlie,” said Jessica. “I hadn’t been able to see her since the car ride to Purdue, and I was scared she was going to die there without me.”

The next day, Charlie raised her head at the sound of her name and wagged her tail. She had responded to the treatment, but was still very sick. The veterinary team decided her spine fracture required stabilization, but her abdominal bleeding was complicating things.

After 24 hours of observing Charlie’s blood count, the veterinary team proceeded with the spinal surgery. The surgery went well and Charlie remained stable for a while, but then, she started to bleed again. Since Charlie was young and healthy before the accident, her veterinarians felt she would have a chance at a normal life after the removal of her damaged kidney. Jessica agreed, and Charlie went back into surgery. While Charlie’s recovery has been difficult, Jessica says the pup is doing well with crate rest and limited activity.

Jessica is grateful to the veterinary team at Purdue for saving Charlie and for her pet health insurance from VPI, which reimbursed her more than $10,400 for medical care and expenses.

“Charlie is the first pet which I have insured and it proved out to be a wise decision for both Charlie and me. With a healthy Charlie and VPI on our side, we are ready for anything!”

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