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When Brian and Karen Guillory of Lake Charles, Louisiana, first brought home King, their new 8-week-old Bullmastiff, he was just a chubby little puppy. Now, nearly two years later, King has grown into a 150-pound gentle giant who fits perfectly into the Guillory home. However, the family nearly lost their beloved beast after his massive appetite got the best of him and he swallowed a kitchen spatula whole. King’s dangerous dessert and miraculous recovery have earned him the title of April’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.
Even though King is humongous, he’s still young and has puppy tendencies. Besides the occasional scuffle with his feline sibling, Smokey, King’s worst habit is eating things he’s not supposed to, which has included socks, sticks or anything small he can get his paws on.
“We had to start putting everything away or high up off the ground,” said Brian. “He’d eat everything he could get in his mouth. He has started to break the habit as he’s grown older, but still has slip ups.”
On the day of the utensil ingestion, King was relaxing in the living room with Brian when Karen arrived home. Just as he does every day, King greeted his motherly pet parent and followed her to the kitchen, hoping for a nibble of scraps as she cooked dinner. On this day, Karen was not only cooking dinner, but also had a cake planned for dessert. As she was finishing the final touches, Karen used a spatula to spread the frosting on her freshly baked cake and placed the utensil on the counter. King seized his opportunity and snatched the spatula with his mammoth mouth, gulping it down without anyone noticing.
“Karen and I sat down to eat dinner and didn’t suspect a thing,” said Brian. “We cleaned up the kitchen and both assumed the other had put the spatula away. We went to bed and had no idea anything was wrong with King.”
Little did the family know, King was in a world of trouble. Over the next couple of days, Brian noticed that the massive Mastiff was acting odd. He was having issues passing his stool, and his appetite was diminishing. Knowing something just wasn’t right with his canine companion, Brian took King to the Downtown Animal Hospital in Lake Charles for a checkup.
“When I took him in, they ran a series of tests, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him,” said Brian. “Then they ran a dye test through his stomach and told me that something was blocking his intestinal tract.”
The veterinary staff gave King medication in an attempt to assist him with passing the blockage naturally, but the attempts failed. The staff recommended to the Guillory family that King undergo surgery to remove the obstruction.
“It became a serious situation very quickly,” said Brian. “King is part of this family, and we’d get him whatever medical care he needed, so we agreed to the surgery. We didn’t know how bad it was until they opened him up.”
During surgery the staff not only discovered that the spatula was what was causing the blockage, but that it had also done severe damage to his intestines. King needed to have more than a foot of his intestines removed, and his status for recovery was questionable. King spent more than three weeks recovering in the veterinary hospital, and although he lost a large amount of weight, he pulled through.
After returning home from the veterinary hospital, King was placed on a liquid and soft food diet for an extended period of time. King slowly gained his strength back and has since resumed a healthy weight. The Guillorys are relieved that their gentle giant is back home and thankful for the support they received.
“The veterinarians did a great job saving King’s life. We can’t thank them enough,” said Brian. “Having pet insurance for King was a huge help financially. We couldn’t be happier with the coverage we got from Nationwide. I recommend it to every dog owner I meet.”