Of Potbellies and Pills: One Pet Pig’s Overdosing Episode

According to Teresa Praus-Choe of Las Vegas, Nev., her pig Crispy Bacon is quite a ham. Though she and her husband Ian joke that Crispy is their little “rock star,” they never expected the potbellied pig to take that notion to the extreme. After overdosing on human medication while his owners were at work, Crispy has earned the title of “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

“We had done absolutely everything to piggy-proof our home, including adding child safety locks to cabinet doors. We always place medication up high and out of reach,” said Teresa. “One night when we came home from work, we saw medicine bottles everywhere and pills on the floor. Crispy had knocked over a table and ingested ibuprofen, acetaminophen, omeprazole and beta blockers.”

Not knowing how many pills the pig had swallowed, Teresa and Ian rushed him to the emergency animal hospital as soon as he began to vomit. The next few days were torturous for the pig’s parents as Crispy was treated for drug toxicity. Concerned for the health and functionality of his heart, kidney and liver, Crispy’s veterinarian administered fluids intravenously, performed a charcoal treatment, and completed blood work daily to monitor Crispy’s organ function. After three days of care, Crispy was healthy enough to return home and has since made a full recovery.

“Although the pet in this case may be a less-than-common companion, the incident itself actually occurs rather frequently,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “In 2011, VPI received more than 1,000 claims for drug overdose making it the most common type of toxicity claim among companion animals. As Crispy’s owners know all too well, accidental ingestion of human medications can be life-threatening for a pet, as well as mentally, emotionally and financially taxing for a pet’s parents.”

Dr. McConnell recommends taking proper steps to prevent poisonings and having the phone numbers of emergency veterinary hospitals handy, should such an incident occur. As for Diana and Ian, the couple reported that they now take extra care to ensure that hazardous items are not only placed up high and out of reach, but are carefully locked away.

“Being in the medical field, my husband and I both recognize the value of insurance,” said Diana. “We chose to get VPI Pet Insurance for Crispy because you just never know what’s going to happen. With VPI, we know that we’ll at least be able to recover a portion of his medical expenses.”

For more information about toxicity prevention, pet owners should visit VPI’s Pet HealthZone.


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