Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claims of the Year

September 6, 2012

A dog that got bitten by a turtle, a hound found literally hanging around the barbecue grill and a cat that went for a ride after getting stuck in a car engine are among the nominees announced by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) for its VPI Hambone Award honoring the “Most Unusual Claim of the Year.”

The nominees also include a dachshund-terrier mix that was found buried alive by firefighters and a potbellied pig that accidentally overdosed on human medication.

The pet health insurance company said the winner will be determined by the public, who are encouraged to cast their vote at www.VPIHamboneAward.com. Voting is open from Sept. 12-25 and will decide which perilous pet will take home the esteemed honor.

Named originally after a dog that ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator, the VPI Hambone Award has since been presented for three equally unusual claims. Past winners include Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants; Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and piece of a basketball; and Harley, a pug that ate, and subsequently passed, more than 100 rocks.

Here are the 12 unusual claims nominated for the 2012 Hambone Award:

  • July 2011 – Ginger the golden retriever (Rocky Hill, Conn.). Sniffing turned snippy when a feisty snapping turtle chomped down on Ginger’s nose, causing quite a scare and lacerations to her muzzle.
  • August 2011 – Havee the Havanese (Pompton Plains, N.J.). A cleaning spree resulted in a trip to the local animal hospital when Havee’s tail was run over by the vacuum after he fell asleep under the dining room table.
  • September 2011 – Kei the shiba inu (Wadswoth, Ill.). An escalator excursion landed Kei in the animal hospital when one of his paws got caught on the escalator grates.
  • October 2011 – Peanut the dachshund-terrier mix (Sicklerville, N.J.). A squabble with a skunk ended with more than just a bad stench in the air when Peanut was found buried alive by firefighters.
  • November 2011 – Baxter the domestic longhair cat (Seattle, Wash.). This feline fell from the 11th floor and lived to purr about it.
  • December 2011 – Crispy Bacon the potbellied pig (Las Vegas, Nev.). Crispy’s owners always joke that their potbellied pig is their little “rock star,” but they never expected he would take it to the extreme until he accidentally overdosed on human medication.
  • January 2012 – Tomis the cocker spaniel (Sacramento, Calif.). Tomis required surgery to remove an almond he accidentally snorted while snacking at a holiday party.
  • February 2012 – Major the Labrador retriever (Minneapolis, Minn.). A game of fetch ended with a trip to the veterinarian when Major ran full-speed into a rock the same size and shape as his toy.
  • March 2012 – Nathan the miniature dachshund (Pittsburgh, Penn.). An altercation with a vicious muskrat caused a severe bite wound dangerously close to Nathan’s jugular.
  • April 2012 – Bayley the Labrador retriever (Lothian, Md.). While playing inside with his furry friends, Bayley shattered a 55-gallon aquarium that left a two-inch gash on his chest.
  • May 2012 – Beretta the Labrador retriever (Bryan, Texas). Beretta had to be rushed to the emergency animal hospital after her owner found her hanging from a barbecue grill by her collar.
  • June 2012 – Pebbles the domestic shorthair cat (Rio Linda, Calif.). After getting stuck in a car engine, Pebbles went on a 15-mile road trip before being taken to a veterinary hospital to treat lacerations and a broken jaw.

All nominated pets made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible treatment expenses, according to the insurer.

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