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After reading and hearing about the benefits of chew toys versus bones for dogs, Kendra Snurkowski of Wilmington, Del., bought her Labrador retriever puppy, Ryder, an elk antler dog chew. Kendra’s precious new pooch enjoyed playing with the antler so much that it was rare when the sound of Ryder crunching down on his favorite toy wasn’t audible in the Snurkowski household.
However, one night the elk antler went missing, and, after searching all over the house, Kendra concluded that Ryder had accidentally swallowed the chew toy. The incident led to a trip to the veterinarian, subsequently earning Ryder the title of “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
Initially, Kendra hoped the antler would pass naturally and waited to call the veterinarian, but after three days, her typically rambunctious Ryder was still not feeling well and had diarrhea. At that point, Kendra called the veterinarian who recommended bringing Ryder into the office immediately. The thought that she might have waited too long to call the veterinarian caused Kendra to become panic-stricken while she mulled over worst-case scenarios. Fortunately, the veterinary team relieved some of Kendra’s fear by reminding her how common it is for Labs to ingest foreign objects.
“The veterinarian had seen other incidents with obstructions, but never an elk antler chew toy,” said Kendra. “Ryder has always been a bit advanced for his age.”
Ryder was diagnosed with diarrhea as well as colitis due to the elk antler causing irritation to his intestines. He was given antibiotics and put on a chicken and rice diet for one week to treat the colitis, but Ryder was back to his old self in just a few days.
“Ryder’s claim shows the importance of using caution when choosing toys for your dog,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “When selecting a novel chew toy, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian. And, be sure to supervise your pet during play time to ensure the toy’s durability, and that unintended pieces are not accidentally swallowed.”
Eight-month-old Ryder continues to attempt to eat anything and everything, including his preventive plastic cone collar (while wearing it) following his neutering surgery. While Kendra has taken the necessary precautions to avoid another trip to the veterinarian since the elk antler incident, she is pleased with her decision to get pet health insurance just in case her lovable Lab finds trouble once again.
“One of the first things we decided when we made the decision to get our puppy was to get Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.,” said Kendra. “It was a no-brainer. We knew that a Labrador puppy, full of energy and mischief, was bound to get into something serious, so we would rather spend the small amount of money each month to know that we are protected.”