Pet quiz: Are these lucky dog and cat cases real or fake?

November 22, 2019

Are you a real veterinary professional if you can't tell a fake case from a real one? Youve probably seen your fair share of crazy cases involving unlucky pets that you couldnt make up if you tried. So lets test your knowledge of the most outlandish, dangerous or downright wild situations that come up in veterinary medicineare these stories real or fake? (Sponsored by Nationwide)

Veterinary teams often find themselves handling cases that would sound too crazy to be true. But how good are you at sussing out a true-blue sticky situation from one that's completely made up? Test your knowledge here.

Salsa, a 3-year-old shiba inu in Marienville, Pennsylvania, with a real hate for deer, got stuck by the antler of a particularly aggressive buck during mating season this year. Salsa bolted out the door during a potty break in the backyard, took to barking and charging the intruder and got a little too close to the angry deer. Rushed to the emergency clinic by owners Seth and Jill Newton, Salsa's internal injuries and bleeding required a lengthy stay, but he's no worse for wear now months later, and the Newtons, while still enjoying the view of the great outdoors, have put up a sturdier fence. 

True or false?

(Find out on the next page!)




Answer: FALSE. Salsa the shiba inu, though fictitious, lives to dance another day.

If you guessed incorrectly, test yourself with this stinger.

A trip to upstate New York was going to be the perfect weekend getaway for Courtney Mikos of Keyport, New Jersey. But things took an unexpected turn when Courtney's Rottweiler, Frank, encountered a porcupine. Thinking back to the incident, Courtney pieced together what may have happened: “Frank grew up in a beach town, so porcupines aren't something that he sees all the time.” Unsure of what to do, Courtney tried to remove the quills herself but was unsuccessful. Knowing how painful this was for Frank, Courtney cancelled her plans and drove an hour south to the closest 24-hour emergency animal hospital. Fortunately, the doctors at Newton Animal Hospital were able to sedate Frank and remove all the porcupine quills. He was sent home a few hours later and has since made a full recovery. 

True or false?


Answer: TRUE. “Luckily, Courtney took Frank to a veterinary hospital right away to be sedated, so the porcupine quills could be removed safely before they caused any further damage,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, VP and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. 

Courtney Mikos and her Rottie, Frank. (Photos courtesy of Nationwide Pet Insurance)

If you guessed incorrectly, take this one for a spin.

Summer was winding down at the Yarbrough house in Leander, Texas. Chelsey Yarbrough was doing her best to wrangle four small children while preparing for a trip. Chelsey never suspected that a load of laundry would lead to a frantic, frightening visit to the emergency vet for their beloved family cat, Jasper. Though Chelsey usually checks the dryer before starting it up, on this night, there was more going on in the laundry room than usual. Chelsey was dealing with one of her children, who was upset and in tears. Distracted by the commotion, she forgot to double-check the dryer. “I closed the door, and I didn't hear anything unusual,” says Chelsey. “Then I heard some thumping and I was like, ‘That's odd.' I was thinking maybe the kids threw a shoe in there or something crazy. Thankfully, I opened the door…and there he was.” Jasper was trapped in the running dryer. Despite her panicked state, Chelsey managed to get Jasper to the emergency animal hospital quickly. Upon arrival, he had an extremely high fever and was kept overnight for treatment and observation. Thankfully, he escaped major injury during his wild ride and has made a full recovery.

True or false?


Answer: TRUE. “It's not uncommon for cats to get trapped in the dryer, especially if you have a cat that likes dark and snug places,” says Dr. McConnell. For her part, Chelsey learned to be extra careful in the laundry room. She tells other pet owners to do the same: “When you have animals that are super docile and sweet, sometimes you don't worry about them as much. But maybe we should be more vigilant for the ones that don't get into trouble, because when they do-we don't expect it.” As luck would have it, the Yarbrough family had pet insurance from Nationwide, so Jasper's unexpected tumble didn't throw the family into a financial tailspin. “I'm a mom of four, and we work really hard but, in those instances, where something crazy happens, it's always good to have that insurance in your back pocket,” Chelsey says. 

Jasper the cat went for a harrowing ride in the Yarboughs' dryer. (Photos courtesy of Nationwide)

If you guessed incorrectly, here's another taste.

When February temperatures took an unexpected dip in West Covina, California, Bill and Linda Hewett, originally from Texas, decided to make a batch of their award-winning chili. Trigger, their 10-year-old bull mastiff, was resting comfortably in his usual spot in the kitchen. So it came as quite a surprise to Linda when he snatched her biggest soup spoon off the counter, chewed it up and swallowed it. “My back was turned for what seemed like just a few minutes-I was just putting spices back in our pantry. I couldn't believe he would move so fast,” she says. But Trigger's chewing job wasn't good enough, and Linda could tell that something was seriously wrong. She sent Bill with Trigger to the veterinary clinic before nightfall. Broken pieces were removed in a first surgery, but a sudden second surgery two days later was necessary when signs of intestinal damage came to light. Thankfully, Trigger is now healthy and back at home.

True or false?


Answer: FALSE. Luckily for our fictional Trigger, no mastiffs were harmed in the making of this story.

If you answered incorrectly, see if this next story trips you up.

One fateful day, Sarah Smith of Arroyo Grande, California, was tossing a ball around in the yard to keep her herding dog rescue pups entertained. Unfortunately, a burst of speed and poorly placed hazards led to a frightening experience. Tippy, an exuberant border collie mix, barreled into a steel hitch at full speed. Sarah rushed Tippy to the emergency vet, where she was treated for cuts and abrasions on her snout and under her eye. The dog received two stiches to mend the wounds near her snout. Thankfully, she had no damage to her eyes. “Tippy is a real athletic dog…a border collie-Lab mix, so she's really agile and usually aware of her surroundings. I didn't think she would hit the trailer hitch,” Sarah says. “I felt horrible. I normally don't throw the ball towards the trailer for this reason.”

True or false?


Answer: TRUE. “Fetch can be a great tool for socialization and exercise for dogs,” says Dr. McConnell. “However, it can lead to unexpected injuries during fun games like this.” Tippy received stellar treatment from Central Coast Pet Emergency Clinic, and Sarah was only responsible for a small portion of the bill because Sarah had Nationwide insurance. Tippy made a complete recovery and is doing great now. When it comes to advice for pet owners, Sarah cautions owners to keep an eye out: “Be aware. It doesn't take much for them to get hurt-it just takes one split second.”

Tippy might think twice before she plays a game of fetch. (Photos courtesy of Nationwide)

If you guessed incorrectly, don't worry! You won't get trapped this time.

Sandy and her husband, Ben, live quietly in the Texas countryside with their son and three dogs. With more than 800 acres of land to roam, the couple tries to make their space as safe and secure as possible. So, it was as a complete surprise to learn that Max, their 3-year-old Great Pyrenees, had not only escaped, but gotten stuck in a dangerous hog trap. “There are wild boars where we live, and there's a creek that runs through San Marcos, so people have hog traps on their property around the river,” Sandy says. “Max got out of our property, and I don't know exactly how he did it, but he got his head in the hog trap somehow.” Lucky for Max, Sandy understands the Great Pyrenees breed and her decisions helped to save Max's life. “His collar is always loose,” she says. “The Great Pyrenees breed likes to herd, chase objects and animals and protect, so we keep his collar very loose and that turns out to be why he was able to get out of the trap.” Sandy got Max to the emergency hospital as quickly as possible, where the veterinary team confirmed his wounds were deep and almost cut his jugular vein. The team was able to patch Max up in just six hours. Amazingly, Sandy and her family were cleared to take the big guy home within a day.

True or false?


Answer: TRUE. “Needless to say, if pets accidentally fall victim to a wild animal trap, it's imperative that owners seek treatment for pets immediately in case of internal injuries or broken bones,” says Dr. McConnell. And Sandy was overjoyed and appreciative of the service Max received: “They were fabulous-the team was awesome and kept us informed.”

Max and his loving family. (Photos courtesy of Nationwide)

If you guessed incorrectly, see if you can sniff this one out.

Otis Stelling was enjoying retired life, taking it easy one morning with his favorite pastime-rocking on his porch taking in his view of the Great Smoky Mountains. He was interrupted when Mia, his 7-year-old Maine Coon mix, an indoor-outdoor cat, came running up to the porch sneezing, hacking and agitated. After the storm of respiratory signs didn't end, Otis took the cat to the veterinarian in town, who ran diagnostics and did a full physical exam on Mia-still sneezing and coughing. A few frustrating hours later, a veterinary technician noticed Mia paw at her nose and caught the glint of something up one nostril: a blade of grass. Carefully removed, the grass attack ended and Otis was able to take Mia home before the end of the day. 

True or false?


Answer: FALSE. It may be fiction, but this story's nothing to sneeze at.

How did you do? If you guessed correctly on each question, hats off to you! If not, don't worry-each of these cases were entirely plausible and highlight how easily an unexpected medical emergency can occur.

This quiz was created in a partnership with Nationwide, and the true stories featured here are actually the entries of finalists for the Nationwide Hambone Award, which represent the most unusual pet mishaps and the incredible recoveries that follow. Nationwide and dvm360 are proud to promote the veterinary teams who-despite facing the most unbelievable situations imaginable-rush to the aid of injured pets across the country and work to educate pet owners on how best to keep their pets safe, happy and healthy.  

So, who was the winner of the “Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year” for the 11th annual Hambone Award sponsored by Nationwide pet insurance? Read Minnow's story here.