A shocked family has hit out after an insurance firm refused to pay for a £1,500 operation on their beloved “one-in-a-million” pet pug – because it is a HERMAPHRODITE.
Dean Brazil, 38, said he and his family were “greatly upset and concerned” after being told by a vet that Nala the pug had a penis, as well as a vagina and ovaries.
The family were told that Nala’s two sets of genitalia could put her health at risk, with her penis making her susceptible to infection and potentially causing problems urinating.
The family paid £500 for much-loved family pet Nala on July 22 and have already paid £162 to have her spayed, after the vet said this would be best for the dog’s health.
But Dean has hit out at Direct Line after the insurance firm refused to pay for a £1,500 operation to remove Nala’s penis – saying the condition predates their insurance premium.
Father-of-seven Dean, from Cheltenham, Glos., said: “Under no circumstances did we at any point leading up to first vet appointment have any knowledge that Nala was hermaphrodite.
“We had not even heard of the condition before this day. We feel Direct Line has been unfair in its assumptions and has left our pet in great jeopardy.”
Dean and his wife Emma pay £266.56 per year for their Direct Line insurance premium, which covers eight-month-old Nala and their other, one-year-old pug, Pixie.
He added that, as well as the £1,500 operation, Nala would also need three x-rays, which would cost £900 in total.
“I can’t afford it. I have seven children. Direct Line’s assumption is that the condition was pre-existing. Their refusal to pay for the operation is cruel,” he said.
Retail supervisor Dean said his seven children, aged four to 21, adore Nala, and see her as a female.
He said he was “shocked” when wife Emma came back from the vet on July 26, four days after they bought Nala, after the family had spotted something red by her private parts.
Dean said: “When my wife came back from the vet, she said, ‘You are not going to believe it’. She told me Nala was a hermaphrodite and it didn’t register.
“I thought ‘what the hell is that?’ When my wife explained it, I said, ‘You have got to be joking me.’ I was quite shocked.”
The vet told Emma that a dog like Nala is “one in a million”.
Dean added: “They said the thing hanging out the back of her was really hard. It is a penis and it could cause problems with urinating in the future.”
When the dog’s ovaries were removed, they were found to be made up of testicular-like tissue.
But Dean said: “We would never want to get rid of her. She’s beautiful, so laid-back and friendly. She’s a lovable dog.”
A spokesman for Direct Line said: “Our pet insurance policies apply a 14-day illness exclusion period from the start date of the pet being covered.
“This means that any illness, disease or condition the pet may have or have contracted prior to taking the policy out is not covered.
“Even though Nala’s treatment happened after the start date of the cover and her owners were unaware of the condition, it existed before the cover was bought.
“While we understand Mr Brazil’s frustration, this is not an uncommon exclusion or condition of UK pet insurance policies.”