Facelift for Fido? Pet Plastic Surgery Surges

Princess 19 on 29 Aug 2011 at 9:00am

Forget the growing number of boob jobs in the U.S. today.  More and more people are getting other types of plastic surgery - for their pets. 

We've discussed the top craziest pet plastic surgeries on RealSelf before - with the #1 procedure being fake testicles.  As reported by ABC, Neuticles, the fake, bean-shaped testicles made out of solid silicone come in a range of sizes for your neutered dog to maintain pride and self-esteem.  Gosh, I wish we were making this up.  Neuticles' site says "over 250,000 pets worldwide have been Neuticled since 1995."  Again, we did not make that up.

kardashian dog gets implants

But, not all pet plastic surgery is cosmetic.  The new surge is due to medically-needed procedures.

Recently, a bloodhound named Junior (above, right) made international headlines when his owner's decided it was time for him to get an eyelift.  Junior's skin condition created excess flaps of skin to droop into his eyes - causing him terrible vision, as well as irritable contact with his eyeballs.  Ouch.  It got so bad, his owners spent about $13,000 to get him the plastic surgery he needed to prevent blindness. 

"We got him when he was just a puppy and noticed he seemed to be in a lot of pain in his early life," his owner Denise Smart told the Daily Mail.  "He could hardly see and he used to get grumpy as a result."

"It took three hours but it was worth it," she added.  "He's a lot less grumpy and aggressive now. He can still be nervous, but he's a lot happier with life."

Surge in pet plastic surgeryJunior's story is not out of the ordinary.  According to UK's top pet insurer, Petplan, eyelifts for young pups topped over 1.6 million dollars last year alone.  Eyelifts weren't the only popular proceedure.  Over 2.4 million dollars in claims were paid out for rhinoplasty of cats and dogs.  For most of these surgeries, Petplan says the procedures are needed for these pets to have “healthier and more active lives.”   

“So-called plastic surgery is something we have to do regularly to improve the quality of lives in the pets we see as well and repair injuries and deformities," said Dr. Brian Faulkner, a veterinarian for Petplan.  "For example, facelifts are commonly required in breeds with excessively drooping eyelids, skin grafts for wounds, soft palate trimming in short faced breeds,” he added. 

Such was the case for poor little Junior.

For humans, having your insurance cover a plastic surgery procedure is not as common.  A patient has to prove a true medical need.

RealSelf reader yellowdaisy from Florida asks, "Would insurance cover any of the [nose's] bump correction if I have surgery to correct the deviated septum? And if not, how much will be left for me to pay if I choose to do the deviated septum and rhinoplasty at the same time?"

"For nose surgery, most insurance companies will scrutinize the procedure carefully to make sure that it is not for cosmetic reasons," says California general and plastic surgeon Dr. T.Y. Steven Ip.  "Insurance may cover nose surgery for breathing problems like a deviated septum. If you decide to add a cosmetic refinement of the nose to the insurance coverage nose surgery, then you will have to incur the cost of the cosmetic portion."

So, medical portion of a surgery is a "yes" for insurance coverage and the cosmetic portion is a "no."  

Fido's medical plan sounds better - except for Neuticles.  Pretty sure those will never be covered.

Photo credit:  Ross Parry and Daily Mail; plasticcelebsurgery.com; ABC News