Brea, Calif. (July 29, 2016) - There are very few things Ilona Segedy of Pittsburgh, Pa. loves more than her local Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, but even the Stanley Cup Champions don’t compare to her beloved 8-month-old Tibetan terrier, Ludmila. Ilona adopted Ludmila when she was just 8-weeks-old and has watched the spunky puppy blossom into an exuberant, yet incredibly curious companion. However, one day Ludmila’s curiosity got the best of her when she managed to get her head stuck in a solid oak coffee table just hours before Ilona was scheduled to see her Penguins play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Ludmila’s furniture fiasco and heartwarming recovery have earned her the title of June’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.
On the day of the tabletop tragedy, Ilona had taken the day off work in preparation for the big night ahead. Ilona had two tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals, a dream for any hockey fan. Her brother Mark had flown into town to join her, and Ludmila was overjoyed to have the company.
“We were anxious for the game, but Ludmila was her happy self,” said Ilona. “I had gone outside to do some chores and Ludmila was hanging out inside with Mark. Ludmila is crate trained, but she’d earned my trust to have free range of the house. She’d never chewed on anything or had any potty accidents, so I didn’t think she’d get into any trouble.”
While Ilona was outside in the garage, Mark had laid down on the couch to rest from his journey. Suddenly, Ilona heard frantic screams from inside the house and rushed to see what happened. As she entered the house, she discovered a horrific scene. Ludmila had lodged her head through a small opening in the design of an oak coffee table in the living room and was violently contorting her body attempting get out.
“It was absolute chaos,” said Ilona. “Ludmila was freaking out and spinning around to the point that I thought she was going to break her neck. When we finally got her calmed down, it became obvious that we couldn’t get her head out. I didn’t know what to do so I called 911.”
Afraid for her dog’s life, Ilona called the emergency line and within minutes the fire department arrived at her doorstep. After a few unsuccessful attempts at freeing Ludmila, and giving further inspection of the coffee table trap, the emergency crew recommended that the curious canine be taken to an emergency veterinarian. Ilona wasted no time and called the local Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Clinic Inc., who advised her to bring Ludmila in immediately.
“They told me to bring her in, table and all,” said Ilona. “So we carefully loaded her in the back of the car with the table still attached and I rode with her while Mark drove. I tried to keep her calm, but I was worried sick. We didn’t even care about the game anymore. We just wanted Ludmila to be okay.”
Upon arrival at the veterinary hospital, the medical team was waiting with a gurney. As they wheeled the terrified puppy into the room, attendees gasped at the odd site. The veterinarians recommended putting Ludmila under heavy sedation to try and relax her neck muscles and squeeze her out, but warned that if it didn’t work, they would have to cut the table off with a saw. Luckily after administering the sedative, Ludmila relaxed enough for the veterinary staff to squeeze her head back through the small cutout in the table and free her.
“I was so happy when they got her out,” said Ilona. “They ran tests and took X-rays to make sure she was okay, and everything came back positive. They recommended keeping her there to monitor until the sedatives wore off. We were going to stay with her, but the staff assured me that Ludmila was going to be fine and told me to relax and go to the game. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
“Ilona did an amazing job using her resources and getting Ludmila the help she needed,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, Vice President and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “Even when homes are puppy-proofed, there’s always a risk. Puppies are incredibly curious, which sometimes leads to painful and potentially dangerous learning experiences, so it’s important that pet owners always seek medical attention when their puppy is injured.”
Since the incident, Ludmila has made a full recovery and is back to her joyful ways. The coffee table has been banished to the basement until Ludmila is full grown. Ilona is grateful for the veterinarians’ incredible work and thankful for the pet insurance support she received from Nationwide.
“I can’t thank the veterinarians enough for helping Ludmila. They were amazing,” said Ilona. “Having Ludmila insured with Nationwide helped out tremendously. With Nationwide, I know I’ll never have to worry about Ludmila’s veterinary expenses, because I know we’re covered.”
As the most unusual claim submitted in June, Ludmila will be in the running for the 2016 Hambone Award. Ludmilla’s incident was one of more than 110,000 pet insurance claims received in the month of June by Nationwide, and was selected by Nationwide employees as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in June include a French bulldog who was kicked by a horse, a Golden retriever who swallowed a pair of hearing aids, and a mixed breed dog who was stung by a jellyfish. All pets considered for the Hambone Award have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
Note to editors: Digital images of Ludmila are available upon request. Please send requests to Ryan Whittington at Rwhittington@petinsurance.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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