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Top 10 Items Surgically Removed from Pets

According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, socks, underwear, and panty hose top the list of items that must be surgically removed after being ingested by household pets. In a release issued today by VPI, the California based pet health insurance company lists the top 10 most common surgically removed items based on reports from its claims adjusters. They are:

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

While these are the 10 most common, the complete list of ingested items that have required surgical removal is broad and seemingly limited only to what a pet can get a hold of and has an interest in. Some of the other items adjusters have seen include rubber bands, batteries, pagers, nails, needles, and baby-bottle nipples. The cost to the pet owner to diagnose the problem and remove the item can run about $1000. VPI policy holders are reimbursed for the expense.

“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.”

So how can a pet owner prevent their furry friend from ingesting something that won’t agree with them and ultimately require surgery? VPI recommends keeping the floor and any other pet-accessible areas clean and clear of any item that could be chewed or eaten. Each pet has his/her own tastes and interests and pet owners should be aware of what their pets are drawn to and keep those items out of reach. VPI also warns that table scraps can contain excessive grease, bones, or other material that may not be digestible by a pet.

Dr. McConnell shared some insight as to when and sometimes why this happens. “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.” Whether pet owners witnessed an ingestion or not, they should always be aware of the possibility. “Never ignore the signs that a pet may have swallowed something inedible: continual vomiting, dry heaving and/or coughing.” McConnell said. “If these symptoms occur, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian.


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