Pug Wins 3rd Annual VPI Hambone Award
"Harley" earns title of Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year.
The competition was fierce, but in the end, a Manville, R.I. pug named Harley trotted away with the coveted title of 2011's VPI Hambone Award Winner for having eaten, and subsequently passing, more than 100 rocks last year.
In the third annual competition, created by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), to educate the public about the unexpected mishaps that befall household pets, Harley's rock-eating incident captured the most public votes out of the more than 4,000 that were cast online at VPIHamboneAward.com.
As Zootoo reported earlier this month, the online voting ran from Sept. 6-20, 2011 to determine a winner among the 12 nominees for the VPI Hambone title as the most unusual claim of the year.
"Foreign body ingestion can be a common occurrence in dogs, but Harley's incident of eating and safely passing more than 100 rocks is a rarity," said Carol McConnell, DVM, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Pets have an unpredictable nature. Because we can't monitor their actions or environment around the clock, one of the best things we can do as responsible pet owners is simply prepare for the unexpected."
According to Lori Laverdiere, Harley's owner, her pug previously had shown little interest in ingesting things that he should not. But when she picked up Harley from the veterinarian's office after a trip out of town, his bowel movements consisted only of rocks. Lori felt several rocks in Harley's stomach and his condition worsened until he could no longer eat or drink without vomiting.
Lori rushed Harley to the emergency animal hospital where X-rays revealed that he had ingested more than 100 small rocks, clogging the pug's entire intestinal tract and filling half of his stomach. Fortunately, the rocks were small enough for Harley to pass without surgery. He was kept overnight at the hospital where the veterinarian administered medication to help him expel the stones. Within a couple of days, Harley made a complete recovery.
"I've had Harley for six years, since he was a puppy, and he's never done anything like this," said Lori. "It just goes to show that you never really know what dogs will do, so you have to be prepared for everything. I love this dog more than anything and I'm so grateful that he's OK."
As the 2011 VPI Hambone Award winner, Harley will receive a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham, as well as a VPI swag bag filled with toys, treats and an emergency pet kit
The 12 nominees were chosen from more than 1 million claims VPI receives annually. They were considered among other uncommon medical claims and selected by VPI as the most unusual of the bunch. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
For more details on the 12 VPI Hambone Award nominees, to read their claims, or see their photos and videos, visit VPIHamboneAward.com.
Did you vote in this year's Hambone Award competition? Do you think Harley deserved the top prize? Tell us below!
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