Little Harry’s battle with a rare killer

Kym Chiesa knows all too well the importance of getting pet insurance sorted early. Kym and her husband are the proud owners of two little Shih Tzu-Maltese named Tom and Harry and when Harry became ill with a chronic disease, the pet insurance became a ‘life saver’ for them. 

Tom and Harry on the Lounge

Tom and Harry


There’s no denying that these two-year-old brothers have found a special place in Kym’s heart.  They have truly become part of the family with Kym’s husband claiming he’d like to return as one of them in the next life considering how spoilt they are!

When asked about the special relationship that she has with her dogs Kym explained, ‘They’re like our children in a way; we only have one child – an adult daughter in the army.  They love hanging out with us, going to the park – all the usual doggy stuff.  They’re just really easy going dogs.’


Harry’s illness

Sadly, the story hasn’t always been a happy one.  A short time after Tom and Harry became a cherished part of the Chiesa household, Harry started to show signs of serious illness.

“All of a sudden Harry began disappearing and hiding. He’s usually such a cuddly dog – he loves contact with humans and joining us on the lounge for a cuddle. But we knew something wasn’t right when he went off his food and began hiding for no apparent reason at all,” Kym explained.

Tom and Harry in Raincoats

Ready for the rain!


He was hiding behind the lounge instead of sitting on top and would shy away from being touched. Kym and her husband knew this kind of behaviour was really out of character for their happy little pup.

“It was very worrying,” Kym said. “After we realised he wasn’t eating or drinking we took him to the vet where they decided to keep him overnight for observation.”

A number of tests were conducted there while Harry was in intensive care.  What was initially assumed to be a simple ‘tummy bug’ turned out to be a pretty serious condition indeed.


The trauma of diagnosis

“Harry was diagnosed with Addison’s disease,” Kym explains.  “The condition is very serious because the hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands near the kidneys cease to be produced in the amounts needed, resulting in a very sick little dog.”

The specialist at the animal hospital didn’t know if she would be able to save Harry’s life as he was in a very bad way. Addison’s disease causes severe dehydration, low blood pressure and heart toxicity. If left untreated, the condition can lead to severe illness, resulting in death.

Kim was pleased that she had access to the right specialist noting that “The Small Animals specialist who diagnosed him was fantastic!  She worked hard to save Harry’s life and now even calls occasionally to check in on us and to see how he’s going.”


Tom and Harry in Hoodies

Ongoing treatment for life

Thanks to the medical care Harry received, he will now live out the rest of his life in relative normality. The Addison’s won’t go away, but Harry now has medication that allows him and us to get on with our everyday lives.

He needs a tablet every night which we give him, as well as an injection every 25 days. And, importantly, we’re covered for all those medications and visits to the vet.”

Harry continues to see his specialist once every six months. He’s doing a lot better now and lives a carefree, happy life with the help of his Addison’s medication.

Kym says that “being on Bow Wow’s books has been a huge benefit for us. By the time you take into account the two specialist visits, all the vet visits, as well as all the medication Harry needs in a year, it all adds up to a lot of money.”


Harry’s vet bills were quite significant and Kym was pleased with the claims process, explaining that Bow Wow Meow made the whole process easy and fluid.

“My husband and I are both in the military. We’re very thorough people and never go into something blind. After a lot of market
‘reconnaissance’, we decided that Bow Wow Meow offered the best value for money.

I really like their claim process – their communication standards are fantastic. As soon as your claim hits their desk they send out a text message to let you know they’re working on it.

After the hospital sent out the bill, Bow Wow had processed the payment and the money was in my account well within a week.”

Kym continues to have both Tom and Harry covered with Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance policies explaining that,

“Bow Wow Meow has certainly been a life saver in Harry’s case.  He’s back to his normal quiet but cuddly self and he’s not running away and hiding behind the lounge any more.

We always knew we wanted to have the dogs covered. If you have an animal and you care about your animal as you should and treat it like a part of the family, then it deserves the best healthcare you can give it.

When you take out health insurance for your dog, you sincerely hope you’ll never have to use it, but you just don’t know these things when you first bring a pet home.”

*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.