Vets save greedy dog with socks appeal
PDSA vets in Sunderland have saved the life of greedy Labrador, Leo, for the second time, after performing emergency surgery to remove three socks from his stomach!
Leo was first brought into PDSA’s Sunderland PetAid hospital in October 2009, when he was just eight-months-old. His owners, Georgina Short and Dean Redden were concerned when their excitable puppy suddenly became ill, losing his appetite and becoming withdrawn.
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Ian McClive, examined Leo and discovered the curious canine had eaten a discarded pork chop bone, which had become lodged in his rectum. Ian explains: “This is why we advise owners not to give their pets bones to chew on, they can splinter and cause serious internal damage. Lucky for Leo, his owners brought him into PDSA as soon as he became ill. If he’d been left untreated for a few more days he could have developed peritonitis and died.”
Georgina says: “We were so grateful to PDSA for helping Leo. We know how dangerous bones can be and have never given him one. We assume he’d managed to steal it out of the bin while we weren’t looking. Once we got him home we vowed to keep a closer eye on him – but that was easier said than done.”
Over the next few months Georgina and Dean noticed Leo often took a liking to items that weren’t his. Dean says: “We find all sorts of objects hidden in his bed; the children’s toys, remote control, basically anything he can get his paws on. We try to keep everything out of his reach but its amazing what he gets hold of.”
Then earlier this year, history repeated itself when Leo started vomited and went off is food. Recognising the signs Georgina and Dean rushed him straight to PDSA. Leo was examined by Ian, who could feel something in his abdomen. X-rays didn’t reveal anything, but his symptoms suggested he’d swallowed something he shouldn’t so the veterinary team decided to operate.
Ian McClive continues: “In the theatre we found three socks blocking Leo’s bowel, which we removed straight away. He’s a very lucky dog, without the operation he could have died. But, because he’s still a young dog he was up and about a few hours after the operation and was allowed home just a few days later.”
Georgina says: “We couldn’t believe it when PDSA told us Leo had been eating socks. He must have been stealing them from the basket or washing line when I wasn’t looking. We don’t know what we would have done without PDSA’s help again. Leo is another member of the family and we’d be lost without him so we’ll be keeping a very close eye on him from now on.”
There is a name for this type of behaviour in pets – pica. Dogs use their mouth to explore objects as well as to eat them. Sometimes the two functions get confused and a dog will eat an object by mistake, even though it had only meant to investigate it.
Ian says “It is very important to stop dogs eating inappropriate items because, as with Leo, they can cause serious illness if objects become lodged in the intestines. Symptoms that may indicate your pet has something blocking the intestines include vomiting, abdominal pain, restlessness, dehydration and loss of appetite. If your pet shows any of these symptoms you should speak to your vet immediately.”
Sunderland PDSA PetAid hospital provides free veterinary treatment for the sick and injured pets of local people in need. To be eligible for treatment pet owners must be in receipt of Council Tax of Housing Benefit and live in the designated postcode catchment area.
PDSA is currently building a £1.6million, state-of-the-art animal hospital in Sunderland. The new hospital, located on North Hylton Road, Castletown, will replace the current premises on Kings Road, Southwick, and will give PDSA the capacity to treat the ever-increasing number of pets desperately needing its help.
To find out more about PDSA’s Sunderland Appeal call freephone 0800 917 2509 or visit www.pdsa.org.uk/sunderlandappeal.