Tug-of-War Turns into Race for Life

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Selects Most Unusual May Claim

Brea, Calif. (June 16, 2014) – Protecting pets from the day they come home can be life-saving. A Las Vegas family found that out when their Goldendoodle puppy was critically injured just six days into their new pet health insurance policy from Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

Karen Harris of Las Vegas said her 12-week-old Goldendoodle, Kya, and the family’s other dog, Samson, got into what started out as an ordinary game of tug-of-war. However, the fun ended abruptly when a patio chair landed on Kya’s muzzle, causing severe damage and a broken jaw. The puppy’s frightening accident, life-saving veterinary care and swift recovery has earned Kya the title of May’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by VPI.

The family immediately recognized that Kya’s condition was serious. Karen’s daughter drove to their veterinary hospital while Karen tried to stop Kya’s bleeding. When they arrived, the staff administered intravenous therapy and treated Kya’s pain while they worked to staunch the bleeding. Once Kya was stabilized, her veterinarian sent the family to the emergency clinic for specialized care.

“Kya was bleeding so much, so fast,” said Karen. “I almost lost her because of all the bleeding, but the critical care staff saved her life. They were so great.”

The following day, Kya underwent surgery to repair her broken lower jaw. Kya’s hospital stay was four days long, and her return home was joyous: Samson had been moping ever since the accident but was delighted to see Kya return home.

Karen believes that insuring pets when they’re young is critical, a decision that helped the family with Kya’s veterinary care. Samson was nine weeks old when Karen signed him up with a VPI policy. When Kya entered the family a year later, Karen purchased a VPI policy for her as well. Needless to say, she was relieved to know Kya was covered when the puppy needed life-saving attention. Although Karen had a VPI policy for Kya for less than one week, she was reimbursed for eligible expenses totaling nearly $2,500 of her $2,700 veterinary invoice.

“Puppies and kittens are full of energy and have a knack for getting into trouble,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for VPI. “Pet owners should be prepared for unexpected accidents or illness with their pets; some may set aside money each month for veterinary care. However, that’s a strategy that isn’t always effective for young or new pets. With pet insurance, your pet is protected from the first day the policy is in force. VPI is thrilled that we were able to help Kya and her family when they needed it. Making the decision to protect their pets from the beginning gave this family the ability to approve specialized care that saved the life of their young dog.”

As for Kya, she seems to be bouncing back into normal life as a puppy. But Karen is still prepared for anything.

“The critical care staff was really surprised at how well Kya recovered,” said Karen. “Accidents happen so quickly, and you don’t have time to think. That’s why I tell everyone that it’s important to know where the nearest emergency care veterinarian is located.”

Karen adds that pet health insurance is just as critical.

As the most unusual claim submitted in May, Kya will be in the running for the 2014 VPI Hambone Award. Other nominees include Pierre the French bulldog who took an unplanned dip in the swimming pool at a Fourth of July party, Roxy the German shepherd who crashed into and shattered a sliding glass door, and Jack the Jack Russell terrier who was picked up and attacked by a snowy owl.

Digital images of Kya are available upon request. Please send requests to afell@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 first 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. Wellness coverage and 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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