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Labrador Retrieves Rock and Racks up Costly Veterinary Bill

Almost every day, Joseph Burns and his sporting dog Major visit an open field near their home in Minneapolis, Minn., for a game of fetch with dummy birds.  On a recent snowy Saturday, however, their usual play date took an unexpected turn when the eager Labrador retriever ran full-speed into a rock the same size and shape of his toy. Shocked and perplexed, Major shook his head and brought the dummy back to his owner, his mouth bleeding from the collision. The game of fetch that landed this 1-year-old Lab in the emergency animal hospital has also earned him the title of “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

“Major is a sporting dog and a pretty intense hunter,” said Joseph. “We had been throwing the dummy around for a while, but I noticed that his eyes had locked on to something else. That’s when he lunged, full-speed and mouth open, into the rock. When he got back to me, there was blood in his mouth. He had cut both of his canine teeth in half and three others were sliced down to the pulp.”

Unsure about the severity of Major’s condition, his owner rushed him to the nearest emergency animal hospital. According to Joseph, the veterinarian on staff was concerned that the impact of Major’s accident could have caused trauma to his brain. Additionally, the extensive damage to his teeth would require surgery within 24-hours. The veterinarian took X-rays and administered pain medication before scheduling Major for surgery early the next morning. Fortunately, Major did not exhibit signs of brain damage but the surgeon who operated on his mouth was unable to save the broken teeth. After having five teeth extracted, the Lab was sent home to rest and has since made a full recovery.

“Major’s incident is a great reminder for pet owners to be aware of the dangers that can occur during outdoor activities. Whether your pet is a well trained performance animal or your loveable companion, it is important to have a plan in place for covering unexpected treatment costs.” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “As the weather gets warmer, more people will be spending time outdoors with their pets and our data shows a clear increase in the number of pet accidents and injuries during the spring and summer months.”

Though Joseph never worried that a game of fetch could result in a trip to the emergency animal hospital, he’s glad he decided to purchase a VPI Pet Insurance policy for Major. “Getting pet insurance was a no brainer for me – especially with a sporting dog,” said Joseph. “I’ve heard horror stories from friends whose dogs got injured while hunting and decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Major. It’s definitely worth the money on the off chance that something like this happens.”

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