A dog owner whose pet snaffled a four-inch skewer from a family barbecue – nearly losing her life as a result – has shared their horrifying story.
10-month-old German shepherd, Bear, bit off more than she could chew when she gulped down the wooden skewer – which remained inside her body for two months.
Owner Richard Davidson, from Kettering, Northants, only discovered something was wrong when Bear began limping, due to the stick ending up in her leg – narrowly avoiding her major organs.
Vets at Abington Park Veterinary Surgery then faced a 75-minute operation to remove the stick, and are now warning other owners to be vigilant as sunny weather and post-lockdown barbecues approach.
Richard said: ‘Because we already have a dog that will eat anything, we always try to be as careful as possible.
‘In this instance we didn’t even see her take it and don’t know if she sneaked it off someone’s plate. So, we didn’t realise that there was any problem at all.
‘Months later she started to limp and then that gradually got worse.. It became so bad that she wouldn’t walk on her back leg and we took her to the vets.
‘It was such a surprise when we were told what was responsible and we are just grateful that it missed vital organs and passed through the intestine without causing serious damage.
‘We know it could have been fatal and we were very lucky.’
It’s not the first time the family have had a similar incident, as the family’s other dog, labrador Keats, needed surgery having gulped down corn on the cob on a stick from the kitchen two years ago.
Vet, Riccardo Minelli, who treated Bear, said: ‘Although the leg was massively swollen, I had still been expecting something like a grass seed, not anything as big as the kebab stick.
‘There was no wound or entry point, so it was hard to imagine how something like that had got in.’
Riccardo realised that surgery was the only option, as the stick was close to vessels and arteries that could have haemorrhaged otherwise.
Thankfully, Bear has made a full recovery and owner Richard was stunned at the news of the find, and reckons the cheeky dog must have snatched the kebab stick unnoticed.
He said: ‘We would never have thought that a kebab stick could possibly have been the cause of her limp.
‘She seemed to be eating fine and there were no other signs of anything wrong.
‘We’ve become even more careful and even have doggie guards at the kitchen door now to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.’
Riccardo added: ‘We frequently see swallowed kebab sticks.
‘It is normally stuck in the mouth, the oesophagus or the stomach. But if they do get to the intestine, the animal tends to be unwell quickly, which wasn’t what happened in this case which was very unusual.
‘With more people at home at the moment and perhaps having barbecues, there is definitely an increased risk. We’d ask people to be especially vigilant if they have dogs around and to contact their vet right away if they see their pet get hold of one of these things.
‘The sooner they get the animal to us the better as we can usually retrieve it without surgery.’
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