A hungry hound from Glasgow has undergone life-saving surgery to remove 4ft of his intestines – all because he swallowed an item of food that many people eat on a regular basis.
Food based emergencies are frequently seen by vets, whether it’s food that is toxic to dogs, dogs eating too much of a food or dogs eating things they thought were food but weren’t. Regularly human food often finds itself in to the stomachs of our dogs and in most cases it’s no cause for alarm, but sometimes dogs eat things that can prove fatal to them.
Eating a corn-on-the-cob is not a good idea if you’re a dog.
Rhodesian Ridgeback crossbreed, Sam (7), had an emergency operation to remove around half of his small intestine after PDSA vets discovered the corn husk was causing it to rot away.
PDSA Senior Vet, Susie Hermit, from the vet charity’s Glasgow Shamrock Street Pet Hospital, said it was one of the most severe cases she had ever seen:
“We found that the corn on the cob husk was causing a major blockage in Sam’s small intestine, restricting the blood supply.
“Unfortunately, some of the damage was irreversible and we had to remove around half of his intestine, which had begun to die off and rot. Sam was very lucky to survive. He was at high risk of developing potentially-fatal blood poisoning and the operation to remove such a large section of his intestines was incredibly risky.”
Sam’s owner, Lorraine Graham (43), from Tollcross, was petrified at the thought of losing her beloved pet.
She said: “We first noticed something was wrong was when Sam started being sick. and it gradually got worse until he was being sick every 20 minutes.
“I couldn’t believe it when PDSA x-rayed him and told us what was causing the blockage. We hadn’t been eating corn on the cob so he must have picked it up while outside,” she said.
“He was so weak and lethargic that I knew he was facing the fight of his life. Thankfully he pulled through and I can’t thank PDSA enough for saving him.”
“We’re extra careful with him now but I’m really happy that he’s made such a good recovery. He’s back to his old self again and is eating normally which is great.”
PDSA vets are issuing a warning to pet owners ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, as many people may be planning barbecues.
Corn on the cob was one of the most common items removed from pets last year with 28 cases treated by PDSA. Other strange items swallowed by pets include bones (51 cases) and kebab sticks (7).
Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA is educating pet owners about the phenomenon of pets eating strange objects – known as ‘pica’ – and how to keep their animals’ safe.
Susie added: “Pets like to use their mouth to investigate objects as well as to eat. Puppies and younger pets will often swallow an item by mistake, even though they had only meant to investigate it.
“Something like corn on the cob might seem harmless enough but if an object moves along the digestive system, as it did with Sam, it can cause a tear or life-threatening blockage.
“If you have pets at home, try to keep anything dangerous or easy to swallow out of paws’ reach. Only let them play with suitable pet toys and try to supervise them to avoid any accidents. If you do suspect your pet has swallowed something you should contact your vet for advice immediately.”
BBQ safety tips
Skip the scraps: Eating barbecue scraps can upset your pet’s stomach. Undercooked, unfamiliar or fatty food can cause vomiting and diarrhoea
Bit it: Throw away any leftover food and rubbish into a lidded dustbin. At PDSA our vets often see pet who have eaten corn on the cob cores. These can cause a serious blockage and need removing by surgery
Keep fuel well out of reach: Lighter fluid can prove fatal if ingested as it contains hydrocarbons, which are derived from crude oil
Keep pets well away from flames and glowing embers: With all that fur around, your four-legged friends could get severe burns. So make sure they steer clear
Slap on the suncream: Pets can suffer from sunburn and heatstroke just like us. So give your pets some suncream, shade and plenty of water. For white fur or damaged skin, special pet suncreams are available from pet shops
Think when you drink: Keep glasses and drinks out of reach of thirsty pets. Alcohol can be particularly hazardous for pets. Use plastic cups as glass bottles, mugs and tea cups can easily smash into splinters to pierce paw