Lovable Louie Raids Toddlers Room Devours Diaper, Baby Lotion and a Book

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Selects August’s Most Unusual Claim

Brea, Calif. (Sept. 19, 2013) – With his puppy already weighing in at more than 60 pounds at the age of six months, Stephen Cross of Louisville, Ky., was always concerned that his mixed-breed dog, Louie, might actually have the stomach to match his constantly hungry eyes. However, it wasn’t until the ravenous pooch went on an eating rampage consisting of a diaper, an entire tube of diaper rash cream, a bottle of baby lotion and a children’s book that Stephen realized that Louie will literally snack on anything.

The canine’s consumption spree resulted in a trip to the veterinarian where Louie was treated for gastric foreign object ingestion, earning him the title of August’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

Whenever the Cross family leaves the house for a substantial amount of time, they have a policy of closing all of their bedroom doors to prevent Louie from chewing up or ingesting anything that could potentially harm him. Unfortunately, the Cross’ housekeeper wasn’t aware of their policy, and she unintentionally left the door open to the Cross’ two-year-old son’s bedroom. Once Louie spotted the open door he went inside the toddler’s room and began his foreign object feast.

“With the door left open, Louie went in and must have started nosing around next to my son’s changing table,” explained Stephen. “By the time my wife got home, Louie had eaten an entire tube of diaper rash cream, a bottle of baby body lotion, a size 6 diaper, and a book.”

The ingestion overindulgence took its toll on Louie. He began vomiting to the point where Stephen was asked by his wife to come home from work and take Louie to the veterinarian. At the animal hospital, the veterinarian took X-rays of Louie’s stomach and intestines. Fortunately, Louie had already vomited up all of the foreign objects and was beginning to recover from his eating episode.

“The veterinarian told us how lucky we were that surgery wasn’t required to remove any remaining foreign objects,” said Stephen. “He recommended we feed Louie bland dog food for a day to make sure he could keep food down.”

Following the incident, the Cross family is even more vigilant about keeping Louie from chewing or eating harmful items around the house.

“I was always worried that Louie would chew up rugs or sheets but I never thought he would swallow our son’s items,” said Stephen. “I’m thankful that my employer offers VPI Pet Insurance just in case there are any future incidents.”

“Louie’s episode illustrates the importance of pet-proofing your home,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Pets are very curious and will take any opportunity to explore an area of the house that is typically off limits. Louie was exceedingly lucky that the objects he consumed did not become lodged in his stomach or intestines, which would have required major surgery.”

Louie’s incident was one of more than 80,000 claims received in the month of August by VPI, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, and was selected by VPI employees as the most unusual of the bunch. Honorable mentions in August included a Chihuahua who was bitten by a squirrel, a Shih Tzu who fell down the stairs, and a mixed-breed longhair cat who ingested some of her owner’s paint. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.

As the most unusual claim submitted in August, Louie is the second of the 2014 VPI Hambone Award nominees, for which voting will take place in September of next year. Voting for the 2013 Hambone Award, which includes nominees from July 2012 to June 2013, will open to the public on September 24, 2013 at VPIHamboneAward.com. The VPI Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to rescue him. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia.

Stories and pictures of the Hambone Award nominees are at VPIHamboneAward.com.

Digital images of Louie are available upon request. Send requests to dolson@petinsurance.com.

About VPI Hambone Award

The VPI Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to rescue him. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia. This quirky title was first awarded in 2009 to Lulu, a hungry English bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball. The VPI Hambone Award and these unusual pet insurance claims have since helped educate the public about the unexpected mishaps that can affect household pets. Stories and pictures of the VPI Hambone Award nominees are available at VPIHamboneAward.com.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 500,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

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