Columbus, OH,
13:19 PM

Nationwide to honor Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year

Public vote to decide winner of 11th Annual Hambone Award®

Every day, veterinarians implement life-saving actions for pets in need. Whether it’s a dog who found himself in a prickly situation with a porcupine or a cat who went through a dryer’s fluff cycle, veterinarians find themselves treating pets with unique situations who need outstanding medical care to live to tell the “tail.”

Each year, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the U.S., utilizes the Hambone Award to honor local veterinary practices for their pivotal care and provide them additional funds for pets in need.

This year’s five Hambone Award finalists were chosen after sifting through millions of claims on Nationwide’s database of more than 750,000 insured pets. The winning pet claim will be decided by a public vote Oct. 7 – Oct. 13 at

All five veterinary practices that treated the “Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year” finalists will receive a portion of the $30,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation. The winning practice will be awarded $10,000, the runner up will receive $7,000, third place will earn $5,000, fourth and fifth place will collect $4,000 to treat pets whose owners could not otherwise afford treatment.

“Our annual Hambone Award is a great reminder that pets can make remarkable recoveries because of the diligence of their owners and the incredible skills of their treating veterinarians,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “These veterinary practices will now have the opportunity to save more animals in need without as much financial concern.”

All nominated pets have made full recoveries and received Nationwide insurance reimbursements for eligible veterinary expenses. The winning animal will receive a basket of goodies, courtesy of Nationwide.

Below are brief summaries of the unusual claims nominated for the 2019 Hambone Award. For a more detailed account of each story, photos of the nominees, or to vote (Oct. 7-Oct. 13), visit

Hambone Award Nominees:

• Tippy, the athletic Border Collie mix from Arroyo Grande, California barreled into a steel trailer hitch while playing fetch and injured her snout.

• Jasper, the cat from Leander, Texas was treated for heat exposure after narrowly escaping a dryer disaster when he got stuck in the fluff cycle.

• Frank, the Rottweiler from Keyport, New Jersey found himself in a prickly situation after sniffing a porcupine put quills up his snout.

• Minnow, whom her owners tried to safely confine as an inside pet, the adventurous cat from Alpharetta, Georgia disappeared for 21 days finally returning home sick with a broken rib.

• Max, the Great Pyrenees from San Marcos, Texas got ‘boar’ than he expected when his head got too close to a hog trap.

The Hambone award was originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator. Since 2009, the annual award has since been given to the most bizarre veterinary claims.

Past winners include:

• Kismet, a Jack Russell terrier who sustained major stab wounds while fighting off a home intruder;

• Curtis, a Boxer who swallowed a barbecue skewer that disappeared in his body and nearly ended his life a year later;

• Charlie, a Labrador retriever who became entangled with a tractor;

• Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants;

• Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball;

• Harley, a pug who ate and subsequently passed more than 100 rocks;

• Peanut, a dachshund-terrier mix who survived a fierce squabble with a skunk;

• Winnie, a mixed-breed dog who swallowed two pounds of uncooked onion rings;

• and Ziva and Zeus, German shepherds who went missing for 22 days in an abandoned missile silo.

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 750,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.