BREA, Calif. (December, 2017) – It was just last year when Laura Santagata and her family of Dublin, Ohio, were searching for the newest addition to welcome to their family. During this search the family knew one thing, they wanted two German shorthaired pointers to join their miniature schnauzer Leo back at home. The family came across a breeder who had eight new puppies to choose from and Laura and the family left with the two they fell in love with. With a love of being outdoors, the family decided to name the girls Skye and Luna, and they’ve been a perfect fit for the family ever since. However, things went sour when one normal day of play landed Skye in the emergency room. Skye’s unexpected tennis court collision and quick recovery have earned her the title of December’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance
The incident came four months after the “pointer sisters” joined the family and on Laura’s special day—her birthday. Laura and her three dogs are no strangers to the neighborhood tennis court, but this day was a little different. With the tennis court net removed, Skye, Luna and Leo had more space to run around and cause chaos.
“I was playing fetch with them inside the tennis court, but they soon became bored,” said Laura. “Once they were tired of playing fetch they began to chase each other’s tails.”
Their new game of tail-chasing started with Skye racing after Luna in the tennis court at full speed, following her every move and determined to catch Luna’s tail. Everything seemed to be going well until the terrifying moment when Luna was running straight for one of the poles that was used to hold up the net.
“At the very last second, Luna quickly zigzagged away and successfully avoided running into the pole,” said Laura. “Skye unfortunately, was not as lucky and slid sideways into the pole at full force. She hit the pole so hard that I thought she was a goner.”
With Leo in hand, Laura moved as quickly as possible to be by Skye’s side. Laura tried her best to give all her attention to Skye, but was met with some difficulty dealing with all three dogs at once.
Things suddenly took a turn for the worst when Skye started foaming from the mouth and breathing heavily. With no phone, Laura immediately started screaming for help in hopes that someone would hear her. Moments later, Laura’s neighbor Dennis pulled up and hurriedly helped Laura gather all the dogs into his car and rushed them to the closest veterinarian, just minutes away.
Skye was presented to Animal Care Unlimited of Columbus, Ohio where they able to provide her with pain medication and perform an X-ray, which showed two broken ribs and air around her lungs. Following the test results, the staff at Animal Care Unlimited, referred Skye to a nearby specialty hospital for further treatment.
Laura, Dennis and the dogs quickly got back into the car and drove off to the specialty hospital, Med Vet in Columbus. Upon their arrival at the hospital, Skye was immediately treated by the veterinary team.
“Skye was still having difficulty breathing when we arrived at Med Vet, so the staff put her on oxygen right away,” said Laura. “They then performed a thoracocentesis which was to help remove the air [from the free space around] her lungs. After that it was a matter of waiting to see how she would pull through by keeping her comfortable and keeping a close eye on her.”
Luckily, Skye’s one tough pup and was able to return home three days later with expectations of a full recovery.
“Skye’s incident at the tennis court shows the importance of being ready for an unforeseen event at any moment with our pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “Skye is incredibly lucky to have a quick-thinking owner such as Laura. With the help of her neighbor and the amazing veterinary staff that treated Skye, I’m happy to hear she’s on the road to recovery.”
In the two months following the incident, Skye has worked her way back to her playful self, although it hasn’t been an easy transition. With two broken ribs, Skye’s movement and playtime were restricted in order for her ribs to heal. Fortunately for Skye, she has a patient and caring family that worked together to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery.
“The staff at Med Vet was excellent,” said Laura. “They immediately took Skye in and treated her as an emergency visit. They were very patient and were able to answer all my questions. I’m so glad we purchased pet insurance from Nationwide. It gave us the ability to take care of Skye without having to worry about the cost.”
As the most unusual claim submitted in December, Skye will be in the running for the 2018 Hambone Award. Skye’s incident was one of more than 141,000 pet insurance claims received in the month of December by Nationwide, and was selected by Nationwide associates as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in December include a mix breed dog who swallowed a fitness tracker, a German shepherd who was attacked by a ground hog, and a golden retriever who swallowed panty hose. All pets considered for the Hambone Award have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
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The Hambone Award is named in honor of a Nationwide-insured dog who got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire holiday 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.
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