Marley the Labrador Retriever Retrieves Poisonous Sea Urchin

Marley Jan 2009Anyone who has owned a Labrador retriever knows that the breed’s defining characteristic can be a blessing and a curse – not all situations call for fetch, and not all items should be retrieved.

“We were on the beach and I noticed that the shrimpers had dumped their nets near the shore, leaving a large amount of sea grass and live sea urchins on the sand,” said Judi Dunn of Holiday, Fla. “The sea urchin spines looked sharp and I didn’t want Marley to step on one so I started throwing them back into the water. Unfortunately, she thought we were playing a game of fetch and went after the sea urchins. It didn’t take long before her paws and gums were swollen and she had lesions between her toes. I immediately took her to the veterinarian, who gave her a shot of antihistamines. She recovered quickly, but she had difficulty walking for about five days.”

Dunn’s claim for Marley’s sea urchin encounter was one of more than 75,000 claims received in the month of January by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance. Marley’s uncommon accident was considered along with other out of the ordinary claims submitted in January and selected by VPI as the most unusual of the bunch.

“I didn’t realize that sea urchins were poisonous,” said Dunn. “I had the camera around my neck when Marley came running back and I took a picture of her with the sea urchin in her mouth. Marley’s breeder had given me a packet of information on preventing pet accidents. It included everything from stingray safety to proper health care, but nothing on sea urchins. I told her about Marley’s accident and now each ‘puppy packet’ also includes information on sea urchins.”



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