Brea, Calif. (April 27, 2016) - It didn’t take long for Cassandra and Matthew’s enormous Great Dane puppy Myles to blend in with the family at their home in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Myles has become a constant source of fun for the family’s toddler members, Emma and Norah. However, Myles’ playtime activities have been marred by the puppy’s odd obsession with eating random items of clothing, which nearly turned deadly after the he swallowed an entire pair of pants. Myles’ appetite for attire and heartwarming recovery has earned him the title of March’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.
In the weeks leading up to the mysterious munching, the family began to notice that small articles of their daughters’ clothing had gone missing. The mystery was solved when Cassandra caught Myles running to his crate with a tiny toddler sock in his mouth.
“We figured out his routine. He would steal clothes and run to his puppy crate to eat them,” said Cassandra. “We were finding pieces of socks and fabric in his stool out back. Even though he weighs more than100 pounds, he’s still a puppy and his training is still a work in progress.”
On the night of the ingestion, Cassandra and Matt were getting their two daughters ready for bed when Myles ran into the room and clumsily attempted to climb onto a rocking chair. As the couple was changing the toddlers, Myles sneakily snatched up Norah’s recently discarded trousers and took off towards his crate. Cassandra noticed the behemoth’s familiar sprint and gave chase.
“I knew he had grabbed something, but I couldn’t tell what it was,” said Cassandra. “He had only been in his crate for a few seconds, but by the time I got there, he had swallowed something. I checked inside his mouth and in his crate for clues, but I couldn’t find anything.”
Later that night, neither Cassandra nor Matthew could find Norah’s pants from earlier in the day. They searched throughout the house with no luck. Their suspicions began to grow that Myles may be the culprit.
“All signs pointed to Myles, but we didn’t think it was even possible for him to swallow something that large in that short period of time,” said Cassandra. “We kept an eye on him just in case, but he acted like his normal self until nearly a week later.”
Days after ingesting the pants, Myles started to vomit in the middle on the night. After his condition continued through the night, the family called their veterinarian and took Myles to Arlington Animal Hospital PC for treatment. Upon arrival, the veterinary team ran tests and took X-rays of Myles’ stomach. The results showed a large blockage in the big puppy’s intestines. The veterinary team informed the family that Myles was going to need surgery to survive.
“It was definitely a scary time,” said Cassandra. “We stayed at the veterinary office with him until his surgery. We knew he had eaten something, but we still weren’t convinced it was the pants.”
When the veterinarians finished the procedure, Cassandra received a text message from the veterinary office. The message informed her that Myles’ surgery was successful and included a photo of Norah’s missing pants, which were still completely whole. The veterinary staff washed the pants and returned them when the family arrived to pick up Myles.
“Puppies have a tendency to chew up and swallow almost anything they can get their mouths on. For a dog Myles’ size, that includes almost anything,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, Vice President and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “It’s important for puppy owners to be vigilant if they see their puppy showing signs of an upset stomach, such as vomiting or diarrhea. If a puppy is suffering from these symptoms, they should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.”
After nearly two weeks of recovery and monitored meals, Myles made a full recovery. Since the incident, the family has worked to resolve Myles’ gluttonous habit by enrolling him in specialty training. Cassandra is relieved to see Myles back to his playful ways and grateful for all the support she received during the ordeal.
“I still can’t believe Myles ate the entire pair of pants,” said Cassandra. “I can’t thank the veterinarians enough for the tremendous work they did. They were wonderful, and having Myles insured with Nationwide helped out tremendously. The process was easy and it allowed us to focus on his recovery.”
As the most unusual claim submitted in March, Myles will be in the running for the 2016 Hambone Award. Myles’ incident was one of more than 104,000 pet insurance claims received in the month of March by Nationwide, and was selected by Nationwide employees as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in March include a Pomeranian that was injured by a falling tree branch, a Doberman that was hit by a bicyclist, and a mixed breed dog that was kicked in the teeth by a horse. All pets considered for the Hambone Award have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
Note to editors: Digital images of Myles are available upon request. Please send requests to email@example.com.
The Hambone Award is named in honor of a Nationwide-insured dog who 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 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 Hambone Award nominees are available at HamboneAward.com.
With more than 550,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide, formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.
Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Wellness 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 pet insurance from Nationwide as an employee benefit.
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