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Pup Swallows Rope Toy & Needs $6K Surgery

By Colleen Williams
published: May 8, 2018 - updated: May 13, 2021 • 3 min. read

Kristin’s (and her Labrador Retriever Maverick’s) story begins as most emergency vet situations do – at 6pm on a Friday! The then five-month-old puppy suddenly became very sick; “I decided immediately to take him to the emergency vet! He had chewed up a rope toy and I was worried he’d swallowed a knot in it.” Maverick’s sudden sickness included vomiting and excreting pieces of the toy; “I was freaking out,” says Kristin.

The emergency vet ordered X-rays and determined that there was an obstruction; by this time the night had progressed to 1am and they toldKristin to head home and leave Maverick overnight. “Nothing prepares you to leave your new baby at the vet’s office and have to sign a paper giving them the rights to do major surgery (or whatever it takes) to save your dog in your absence,” she says.

Before Kristin left, however, the vet wanted to make sure she understood how expensive any possible procedure could be: “The vet is talking to me and she says, ‘here’s the most painful part – the money’ and with confidence, I told her, ‘I have pet insurance. I don’t care what it costs just do what you need to in order to save my dog.’”

The very next day, they performed foreign body obstruction (FBO) surgery on Maverick and removed a squeaker from the rope toy (“We didn’t even know it was in there!”) that he’d swallowed. He stayed in the hospital for four full – and stressful – nights, and the bill was hefty: $6,220 for foreign body removal. His follow-up care included stitch removal and a regular checkup, and he was crated and in the cone of fame for a complete 2 weeks. Maverick  has since recovered fully and is doing fabulous today! “You cannot see his scar anymore on his belly and he is back to being a crazy 10-month old pup!” And Kristin is thankful she had signed up for pet insurance and was reimbursed $4,798 in vet bills.

It could be a treat or a toy intended for canine consumption, or even an everyday household item – vets have seen it all! We pet parents, however are always surprised to find out what ends up in our pup’s belly.  From Wagner’s sock appetizer to Kenzie’s accidental ingestion and Smokey needing surgery after swallowing a toy, dogs can get into anything and everything while we look away for just a second… and sometimes they get into trouble from things they’re supposed to be chewing (although not swallowing).

“It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about what happened and how amazing it felt to be able to tell the vets to do whatever they needed to because I had pet insurance,” says Kristin. “He is my first dog as an adult, and I never knew what it was truly like to love someone more than yourself until I got this boy. I am forever grateful to Healthy Paws for being a part of the “team” that helped my boy.”

If you love your dog like family but wouldnt be prepared to pay thousands of dollars for an unexpected accident or illness, consider dog health insurance. Your pets are always there when you need them, make sure you can return the favor and take care of them when they need you the most. By enrolling in pet insurance, your furry family member is covered, and so is your wallet. Start by getting a free quote.

Are you a Healthy Paws pet parent with a recovery story to tell? We’d love to hear it! Send your pet’s story along with photos of your four-legged family member to

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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