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Dog’s best friend certainly isn’t the southwest-dwelling, pig-resembling, short-tusked javelina, as Arizona pet owners Rosalind Bark and Gregory Hodgins found out the hard way.
“My husband and our two German shorthaired pointers were hiking in the Santa Rita Mountains in the morning when danger struck,” explained Tucson resident Bark. “Our dog Rincon ran further up the path while his sister Catalina fell behind to drink some water. As Rincon moved slightly out of Gregory’s sight for a few minutes, he heard yelping up ahead. Dashing up the trail, Gregory found our dog unmoving, with two adult javelinas ready to attack again. Noticing that Rincon was not fleeing, Gregory began yelling to scare the creatures away.”
The javelinas, which apparently attacked Rincon in an effort to protect their young from perceived danger, dug their sharp tusks into the dog’s chin, hind area and left groin, leaving him immobile and badly bleeding. In dire need of emergency care, the 65-pound Rincon was carried by his owner for an hour before they reached the car. “My husband had left me a phone message and explained what had happened,” added Bark. “I called him back to give him the location of the nearest emergency veterinary clinic, which was still about 45 minutes away. I also prepared the emergency veterinarian for his arrival.”
Bark’s claim for Rincon’s javelina encounter was one of more than 59,000 medical claims received in the month of February by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance. Rincon’s frightening ordeal was considered along with other out-of-the-ordinary claims submitted in February and selected by VPI as the most unusual of the bunch.
Despite having to wait almost two hours for medical attention, Rincon’s treatment was a success. “Luckily, no internal organs were ruptured,” said Bark. “Rincon’s wounds were cleaned up and closed with sutures. He’s healed nicely, and is starting to go on short hikes again, but this time not in the Santa Rita Mountains. As an added precaution, we now have the number of the emergency clinic in our cell phones.”
“Rincon’s claim illustrates that no matter how safe you think you are with your pet, medical emergencies can happen at any time,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Having a cell phone with you when you’re traveling with your pets is a great idea in case you need to find the nearest emergency pet hospital or other help.”