Dog with tongue out

Does pet insurance cover soft palate surgery?

Team Walmart Pets

July 9, 2021


min read

It’s hard to resist the sweet face of a Bulldog or a Himalayan cat, but their iconic, squishy appearance may also result in a breed-specific (aka hereditary) condition called elongated soft palate. Surgery may be required to help these pets breathe normally, and thankfully, by enrolling in Walmart Pet Insurance, the procedure can be much easier to afford.

Before we explore just how much pet insurance can save pet owners, let’s take a closer look at the medical condition itself.

What is an elongated soft palate?

The soft palate is located at the back of the roof of the mouth. An elongated soft palate occurs when this tissue is too long and blocks airflow to the windpipe (trachea). This condition is often part of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome which includes other respiratory abnormalities. It only takes one of these medical issues to make every breath a struggle. It makes your pets more susceptible to getting hurt and sick.

Brachycephalic Dog Breeds:

  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pug
  • Pekingese
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Brachycephalic Cat Breeds:

  • Persian
  • Himalayan
  • Burmese
  • Scottish Fold
  • Exotic Shorthair

What is soft palate surgery?

Soft palate surgery involves removing the elongated portion to clear the airway so breathing is easier for your cat or dog during inhalation. This is crucial to alleviate the following clinical symptoms:

  • Noisy or difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Retching and gagging
  • Regurgitation
  • Vomiting
  • Cyanosis (when the gums and tongue turn blue due to a lack of oxygen)
  • Collapse

These conditions are typically intensified in times of stress, excitement and when it’s hot and humid out. If your pet has more than one symptom of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, your vet may recommend multiple corrective surgeries to be performed at the same time. This can result in a very expensive bill! This is why it’s good to protect your pet with an insurance policy, especially if you’re considering getting a purebred dog or cat.

Common soft palate surgery requirements

Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing to confirm an elongated soft palate. The chart below lists common diagnostics and treatments associated with the surgery, most of which can be covered by pet insurance, depending on what kind of pre-existing conditions your pet has.

  • Sick Visit → the exam fee
  • Pre-Surgery Diagnostics → blood work, radiographs, sedated pharyngeal exam
  • Surgical Procedure → the time, expertise and equipment needed to perform the surgery by the veterinarian
  • Anesthesia → the medications and equipment used, as well as monitoring by veterinary nursing staff
  • After Surgery Care → hospitalization, pain medication, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, follow-up care, care for surgical complications HERE

How much does soft palate surgery cost?

You may be wondering the average cost of soft palate surgery. According to pet insurance claims data, medical expenses relating to soft palate surgery averaged around $2,375. To treat Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, one Boston Terrier’s claim totaled $7,851! Fortunately, his pet parents were reimbursed $6,716, leaving them with only a fraction of the bill to pay.

Early enrollment is the first step in allowing you and your pet to breathe easy. No pet insurance provider will cover pre-existing conditions, so the sooner you protect your pet, the better. If you are thinking about adding a dog or cat to your family who may be at risk of certain hereditary conditions, be sure to do your research. You’ll want to choose a policy that offers coverage for hereditary and breed-related conditions alike.

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Photo by Jake Hutchison on Unsplash