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While social media sometimes gets criticized for its lack of valuable content, it can also be educational, as Kyle Bowser of Barnstable, Mass., recently found out when her dog, Winnie, ate a two-pound bag of frozen onion rings. Ingesting the appetizer led to a severe stomach ache and a trip to the veterinarian for anemia testing, earning Winnie the title of March’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
“My husband and I had to rush out of the house to pick up our daughter after we went grocery shopping, and we accidentally left the bag of frozen onion rings on the counter,” explained Kyle. “When we returned home, we had a very guilty-looking dog and an empty bag of onion rings on the floor.”
Thinking the onion rings consumption would result in nothing more than a stomach ache; later that day, Kyle’s husband posted a photo of Winnie and the empty bag of onion rings on Facebook. Fortunately, a friend that viewed the photo pointed out that onions can be very harmful for dogs, leading Kyle to do some research on the toxicity of onions.
“I did some quick investigating and found out that onions aren’t just bad for dogs, they are extremely toxic and can cause anemia,” said Kyle. “After reading that, I immediately called the Pet Poison Helpline, and they instructed me to take Winnie to the veterinarian.”
At the animal hospital, the veterinarian induced vomiting and fed Winnie charcoal to absorb the toxins. While the veterinarian wasn’t worried initially when he examined Winnie, upon learning that she had ingested the entire-two-pound bag of frozen onion rings, he grew concerned that the ingredients in the onions could cause damage to her red blood cells.
“Onion ingestion can be extremely harmful because the vegetable contains thiosulphate, an ingredient that is toxic to cats and dogs,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Onion poisoning disrupts the pet’s red blood cells circulating the body which may lead to hemolytic anemia. In extreme cases, the pet may need a blood transfusion.”
Although Winnie’s blood tests did indicate initial signs of anemia, fortunately, Kyle and her husband’s mad dash to the veterinarian prevented any long-term damage from occurring. The startling incident left the Bowsers thankful that they decided to purchase pet insurance for Winnie.
“Having VPI Pet Insurance for Winnie, and our other dog Daphne, has given me so much peace of mind,” explained Kyle. “I love my dogs and I would do anything for them, so it’s nice knowing that I will have financial help when they need it most.”