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4th of July skewer surprise for a sneaky snacker

Vote for Griffin once a day from 11/1-11/5

Independence Day weekend is typically a time for creating memories with your family and friends over good food and refreshing drinks. This was indeed the plan for Chicago native Karen Perille and her dog Griffin, a golden, fluffy and scruffy mixed breed dog. Karen never imagined the chicken skewer that Griffin lapped down at the BBQ would cause so much hardship and trauma.

“I brought him to a barbecue,” recounts Karen. “He was having a great time.”

Griffin got out of Karen’s line of sight for a minute and got his paws on a chicken skewer—which he ate happily, bamboo stick and all.

“I don’t know how he got it down, but it was this big bamboo skewer with big chicken pieces on it … The next day, he vomited a little bit, but he was fine. He was running around. He was eating, pooping, barking,” says Karen.

griffin mixed breed

Over the next few days, Karen watched Griffin closely for any signs of injury or distress. When it seemed like the coast was clear, she figured [the skewer] would pass on its own. That feeling of calm was shattered over the next weekend at the family lake house.

“I went up for the weekend with my family and I got to bring Griff with me, which was really exciting,” she said. “I’m not sure what day it was, but he jumped up on the pier … and he hit his chest and stomach area.”

Immediately, Karen noticed a difference in Griffin. The spot that he hit was sore, and he would yelp if she tried to pick him up. Karen recalls Griffin getting very lethargic and not moving for six or seven hours. Things he would normally do he was no longer doing.

“He just looked so old and tired,” says Karen.

The next day Karen and her family took Griffin to the vet, where the care team found an infection. They vet also did an X-ray on a lump on his side but found nothing conclusive. Griffin was prescribed antibiotics and his family was instructed to keep an eye on the cyst.

“My parents love my dog, so now they’re also monitoring my dog, like, ‘Okay, how is the lump? Where is it?’ The lump kept getting bigger and then, later in the day, he kind of like dive-bombed into the carpet—and he burst this lump,” says Karen. “And there’s just blood everywhere.”

Karen and her family brought Griffin to an emergency vet near the lake house, and the staff drained the cyst again. Karen and Griffin headed back home to the city, and a few days later she noticed the lump was back. It burst again at home, and she took Griffin to Higgins Animal Clinic where they performed more x-rays. Reviewing the scans, the veterinarians at Higgins saw that the cyst was deep and required surgery to remove.

Griffin was dropped off at the veterinary hospital for surgery. A couple of hours later, the surgeon called earlier than expected. Karen, thinking that something went wrong, was preparing herself for the worst. “The doctor tells me, ‘We get in to remove the cyst, and there is a skewer poking out of his side.’”

They reported that the wood had turned black and was poking through Griffin’s abdomen. Since it was bamboo, it was never detected on any of the X-rays.

Higgins Animal Clinic didn’t have the equipment necessary to remove the skewer, so they carefully wrapped Griffin in layers and layers of bandages for a long 45-minute drive to another surgeon. Griffin underwent surgery and luckily the skewer didn’t puncture any internal organs, which could have been fatal.

Karen is thankful for the help of both vet practices, but she especially loves how Higgins acted swiftly and made sure Griffin was okay for transport. “They’re really kind and really thorough. They definitely are very up front, they’re smart and they’re honest,” says Karen.

“There’s no end to the things some pets will eat,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “The fact that Griffin was able to carry this around for so long is amazing – and kudos to the veterinary team for getting to the bottom of it!”

Griffin has since made a full recovery and is doing well. Between the excellent service at Higgins and the coverage of Nationwide, Karen was able to give Griffin the care he needed without thinking twice.

“[Pet insurance] encourages you to be more informed about what treatments are available,” She says. “Then it also just lets you go in for that preventive care, lets you go in for something you think is urgent … you don’t have to comparison-shop [and] you don’t have to redline items at the vet.”

karen and griffin mixed breed dog

Karen Perille
Nationwide member since 2018

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