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Nation's Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Top 10 Items Surgically Removed From Pets

Ingested Household Items Can Harm Pets and Require Costly Surgery

BREA, Calif., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Call it the $1,000 sock, because by the time your veterinarian reaches the source of Fido's digestive disruption, that's about how much that chewed up sock can set you back. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, has reimbursed policyholders for a lot of swallowed socks in its 25 years insuring America's pets. In fact, socks top a list compiled by VPI's claims adjusters ranking the most common items surgically removed from pets' gastrointestinal tracts. Here are their picks:

Most Common

Surgically Removed Items

1. Socks

2. Underwear

3. Panty Hose

4. Rocks

5. Balls

6. Chew Toys

7. Corn Cobs

8. Bones

9. Hair Ties/Ribbons

10. Sticks

The list of items only scratches the surface of the collection of indigestible articles. While the most common items are pet owner's personal belongings, other frequently ingested objects include nails, sewing needles and nipples from baby bottles. VPI's claims adjusters have also received medical records for pets that have swallowed pagers, hearing aids, drywall, snail bait, batteries, rubber bands, toy cars, and sand with bacon grease poured on it. Fortunately, a VPI Pet Insurance policy reimburses pet owners for X-rays and testing to determine the source of a gastrointestinal blockage, and surgical removal of the foreign body, if necessary.

"It's no secret that cats are curious and dogs like to chew on things," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Unfortunately, those traits can motivate pets to chew on, bite, or swallow items they shouldn't. Some of these objects will pass naturally, but others have a tendency to become lodged in pets' gastrointestinal tracts, resulting in pain, vomiting, or internal injury. In those cases, surgery may be a necessity."

The best thing pet owners can do to prevent costly foreign body removal surgery is keep a clean living space. This includes making sure that personal items are not left on the floor or within easy reach of pets and remaining aware of each pet's chewing tendencies. Certain objects may appeal more to some pets than others. Knowledge of a pet's tastes and tendencies can help pet owners exercise caution when letting a pet near objects that could be accidentally swallowed. Also remember that table scraps can contain excessive grease, bones or other objects not easily digested by pets.

"Most of these incidents occur without the pet owner's knowledge," said McConnell. "Pets can get anxious if left alone and start chewing on objects to relieve boredom or stress. Never ignore the signs that a pet may have swallowed something inedible: continual vomiting, dry heaving and/or coughing. If these symptoms occur, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian."

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet WellCare Protection(SM) for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 1,600 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.
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