uncommon beauty: a closer look at the vizsla

Posted by Dr. Jules Benson on Jun 21 2010


Every Monday here at Petplan, I receive a list of the week’s more unusual pet health insurance claims. This week, two of these jumped out at me because they were for a relatively unusual breed: the Vizsla. It’s not uncommon for a couple of our “I-ate-a-spatula-with-cake-mix-on-it” or “running-full-speed-into-the-tv-because-there-was-a-rabbit-on-it” claims to be for Golden Retrievers or Labradors, but it was surprising to see Vizslas featured twice.


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For those unfamiliar with the breed, they’re a sporting dog originating over 1,000 years ago in Hungary as companions and working dogs of the Magyar tribes. Fancy heritage, no? As you can see from the picture, they’re easy on the eye, too!


My experiences with Vizslas in a clinical setting has been pretty wide and varied but speaks volumes of the breed. A couple of examples are below:


Severe chest lacerations – As with many sporting breeds, if a Vizsla spots a small, running animal (if they’re not on the leash) they can be off like a shot. In a recent case we saw, a rabbit caught the attention of our brave hunter but then a barbed wire fence made the hunter the hunted! Fortunately, the lacerations healed well but required several minor operations. Cost? Around $1,500.

Diabetic chocolate ingestion – Intelligent, curious, hungry. Not a good combination when Dad’s special valentine chocolates have been left lying around. Now, chocolate is bad news for dogs and ingestion of a mixed box of milk and dark chocolate can be tough to treat. However, in this case the bad news was compounded by the fact that diabetic chocolates tend to use the artificial sweeteners mannitol or xylitol. Unfortunately, xylitol can be highly toxic and, since the confectioner was closed, we had to treat this as a worst-case scenario and treat aggressively. Fortunately, everything worked out well but the bill topped $2,000.

Routine blood draws – One of the reasons vets and techs love athletic breeds like Vizslas, Weimeraners and Greyhounds is that their veins are fantastically easy to draw blood from! There’s nothing better than having a nice, plump vein to draw blood for annual heartworm and blood tests. The drawback? Being on the smart side, they often know something’s awry and the “blood-draw- 3-legged-dance” with a vet or tech hanging onto the other foot is not uncommon!

These days, Vizslas are becoming increasingly popular as pets because of their incredibly sweet nature, impressive athleticism and generally high level of intelligence – making them ideal dogs for young, active families.

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