A Barnstable, Mass., dog that was rushed to the vet after gobbling up a 2-pound bag of frozen onion rings won the 2013 Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.'s Hambone Award, honoring the pet with the most unusual insurance claim of the year
The runner-up was Natasha, an Oakland, Calif., cat who went through an entire washing machine cycle and lived to meow the tale.
The fifth annual contest is named for a dog who ate an entire ham while stuck in a walk-in refrigerator. The 2013 winner, Winnie, got more than she bargained for when she tore into a bag of groceries left on the counter.
Her family returned home to find the empty bag of onion rings and a guilty-looking mixed-breed pup. Thinking Winnie would suffer no more than a stomach ache, the family posted the tale and photo on Facebook. Fortunately, a friend who saw the post alerted the family that onions aren't good for dogs.
"I did some quick investigating and found out that onions aren't just bad for dogs, they are extremely toxic and can cause anemia," Kyle Bowser said in a press statement. "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. Although Winnie's blood tests indicated initial signs of anemia, the family's dash to the vet's office prevented any long-term damage from occurring.
For its outstanding treatment of Winnie, the Hyannis Animal Hospital in Yarmouth, Mass., received a $10,000 VPI-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation to treat pets whose owners cannot afford treatment. Winnie received a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham, as well as a VPI swag bag filled with toys, treats and an emergency pet kit.