Vets at the Animal heath Trust (AHT) near Newmarket have saved the life of a bull terrier after a piece of bone got lodged in its throat.
The terrier called Larry had managed to part-swallow a two-inch long chunk of a large marrow bone, which got wedged itself across his oesophagus and took vets four hours to remove.
Now experts at the charity are urging dog owners to think carefully before giving their pets bones to chew on.
Simon Bradford, Larry’s owner, gave his terrier a marrow bone as occasional treat, but this time he noticed something was wrong. “I could tell immediately something wasn’t right when he was unable to digest his dinner,” he said.
Vets sedated Larry and tried to remove the large piece of bone with forceps but, after several unsuccessful attempts at dislodging it the decision was made to transfer him to the AHT at Kentford for further treatment.
Once there Larry was anaesthetised to enable vets to remove the bone using an endoscope.
Daniela Murgia, head of soft tissue surgery at the trust, said: “Sadly, in Larry’s case the bone stuck in his oesophagus and could not be removed using this technique. Instead he had to undergo emergency surgery, which entailed opening up his chest, incision and reconstruction of the oesophageal wall, due to the severity of the situation.”
Larry was in surgery for approximately four hours.
“After a long wait we finally heard that Larry had pulled through his ordeal,” said Mr Bradford, who lives in Woodbridge in Suffolk. “It was a huge weight lifted, but a real shock as to how much damage the bone had done.
“He’s well on the road to recovery now, but it has put me off ever giving my dogs any types of bones again - even a marrow bone.”
Daniela added: “Bones can be fatal if parts are swallowed whole. They can stay in the stomach for long periods and cause severe gastritis, or become stuck in the gut, causing obstruction, which is also extremely dangerous. I’d urge pet owners to ensure they are aware of the risks that bones can pose to their pets, especially at this time of year.”