Magnetic Meal Puts Pug in Belly Bond

John and Pam Wagner of Monrovia, Calif., know that their companion Sam, a 4-year-old Pug, has quite an appetite. Sam will eat whatever he can get his snout on, including avocado pits, rocks or simply anything laying on the ground, which occasionally leads to a trip to the emergency room. Sam’s gluttony has prompted the Wagners to keep a keen eye on the Pug’s eating habits, but every once in a while, the hungry hound will get his paws on something tempting. Usually the ordeal ends with a stomach ache until the object passes on its own, but Sam’s luck recently came to an end after he swallowed a bunch of magnets that eventually traveled through his intestines and became stuck together, putting the Pug in peril. Sam’s attractive appetite and incredible recovery have earned him the title of June’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.

The incident started at the Wagner family home when the curious canine stumbled across a few spilled goldfish crackers. The crackers had fallen under the crease of the refrigerator and Sam was determined to scoop them free. As he struggled to get every displaced cracker, Sam unintentionally knocked the magnets off the fridge. When he discovered the attractive new treats, Sam couldn’t help himself and swallowed four magnets one by one.

Sam Collage with Family

“When I walked up, I could see that Sam was getting his nose into something, so I immediately intervened,” said John. “At first, it looked like he had just gotten into some crackers, but then I saw a couple magnets on the floor and realized there were more missing from the refrigerator. All I could think was ‘here we go again.’”

With Sam’s history of ingestions, the Wagners knew there was a possibility that the magnets would pass on their own due to their small size. Over the next couple of days, they monitored Sam closely, and sure enough, two magnets passed. However, eventually Sam started to look uncomfortable so John and Pam took him to Dr. Domotor’s Animal House Veterinary Hospital and explained the situation. The veterinary staff took X-rays, which revealed the two remaining magnets in Sam’s intestines.

“You could clearly see the magnets in the X-rays,” said John. “It looked as if they were working their way through his system without too much of a problem, so the veterinarian recommended we wait a little longer. We had no idea that they would actually attract to each other.”

Sam Collage

The family patiently returned home, but after a short period of time, Sam’s health deteriorated so they rushed him back to the veterinary hospital. A second round of X-rays revealed only one magnet, which at first glance, led them to believe the other had passed. However, upon closer investigation, they discovered that the magnets had actually attracted to one another while in separate parts of Sam’s intestines and had clamped together, pinching the walls of his intestinal tract. To make matters worse, the magnets were so strong they had created holes in his intestinal walls. Sam’s condition became serious and he was immediately prepped for emergency surgery to extract the magnets and repair the damaged areas of his intestines.

It’s been a long road to recovery, but Sam is nearly back to his old self. His appetite has returned and he’s resumed his regular walking schedule, but the Wagners still have to stop Sam from eating things he’s not supposed to.

“Sam is huge part of this family and we’d do anything for him,” said John. “We’re so grateful for the incredible work the veterinarians did to save Sam, and I’m glad I had Nationwide to help with the cost. Accidents like this are a reminder of why pet insurance is important to have. I recommended it to everyone.”

Pet Health Spotlight

If you have a curious pet like Sam who loves to swallow things, you’re probably on constant alert. Some foods that may seem benign can do a number on your pet’s insides.

Here are the most common dangerous summertime foods for pets to watch out for:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocadoes
  • Meat bones
  • Chocolate

Learn about what happens if something gets stuck in your pet’s intestines


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