Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year

After reviewing more than 1.3 million pet insurance claims received over the past year, Nationwide has nominated 12 worthy candidates for the 2015 Hambone Award. Each year, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance searches through its database of more than 550,000 insured pets to honor the “Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year.” The winner will be decided by a public vote Sept. 16 – 30 at

In addition, the animal hospital that treated this year’s Hambone Award winner will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation to treat pets whose owners could not otherwise afford treatment.

This year’s nominees include a Catahoula mix who got lost in a blizzard for three days, a Shih Tzu who was trapped in a burning building, a Persian cat who swallowed more than three feet of packaging tape, and many more. All nominated pets have made full recoveries and received Nationwide insurance reimbursements for eligible treatment expenses.

Nikko survived!

Nikko survived!

Hambone Award Shih Tzu Nominee: July 2014 – Nikko the Shih Tzu (Hollywood, Calif.). After running a few errands, Nikko’s owner Courtney Cecil returned home to find her house engulfed in flames and Nikko trapped inside. Following a daring rescue, both Nikko and Courtney were treated for severe smoke inhalation.

Originally named after a dog that ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator, the annual Hambone Award has since been given to the most bizarre medical claim each year since 2009. Past winners include: Charlie, a Labrador retriever who became entangled with a tractor; Ellie, a Labrador retriever that gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants; Lulu, a hungry bulldog that swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball; Harley, a pug that ate and subsequently passed more than 100 rocks; Peanut, a dachshund-terrier mix that survived a fierce squabble with a skunk; and Winnie, a mixed breed dog that swallowed two pounds of uncooked onion rings.