A poor pooch was left needing life-saving surgery after greedily chomping down a lamb shank bone – that became lodged in its throat.
Sam, an 11-year-old West Highland Terrier, guzzled down scraps which were left in a rubbish bag by his owner Christine Grest.
But, after running into the garden with his ill-gotten treat, a two-inch bone became stuck in his oesophagus.
An x-ray at the vets showed the bone lodged inside the dog and, after a three-hour operation to chip away at the sharp object, the lucky pooch pulled through.
Owner Christine, of Cleethorpes, North East Lincs., said: “Sam isn’t allowed to have bones and we are normally very cautious about what he eats.
“I’d put the lamb shank bone in a plastic carrier bag on the kitchen floor intending to put it in the rubbish bin, but I got side-tracked and he couldn’t resist temptation.
“I then saw him race off into the garden with a bone sticking out of the side of his mouth – and we ended up having a fight to get it off him.”
It was only later in the day when Sam became sick and breathless while out on a walk that Christine and husband Philip took the plucky pooch to Eastfield Veterinary Clinic.
An x-ray taken by Eastfield clinical director Mike Jeffreson soon discovered the problem – a two-inch piece of bone in need of immediate removal.
The painstaking three-hour operation saw Mike use forceps to chip away at the bone to reduce it in size so it could be removed from Sam’s gullet.
As his oesophagus was badly damaged, there was a danger it could have perforated and led to his death.
But after spending a week in the veterinary hospital being fed through a tube directly into his stomach – Sam made a full recovery.
Christine said: “After going to the vets and being told he had a piece of bone stuck, we didn’t think he would survive because of his age.
“We feared the worst and we were very anxious.”
Sam is now back home with his relieved family, who adopted him from Ark Animal Rescue Centre, in North Somercotes, when he was four.
Christine, who praised the vet who saved her pet’s life, is now urging owners to be extra cautious about disposing of bones.
Chrisine added: “We were so pleased with the service we had from Eastfield Vets as they were so attentive and Sam received such good care.
“He’s an absolute gem, but fortunately they were able to save him. Last year, I dithered about taking out insurance, but I’m very glad I did.”
Warning dog owners about the dangers of their pets eating bones, Mike said: “Although this was an accident and Sam pinched the bone, our advice is not to give dogs cooked bones because it can have disastrous consequences.
“A solid lump of bone was stuck in Sam’s gullet, just above the heart. When he came in, he was coughing and choking and unable to swallow.
“His oesophagus was ulcerated and damaged and it could have perforated if we fed him, so he had to have a tube into his stomach for five days.
“If the oesophagus is badly damaged, dogs can die.”
Commenting on Sam’s case, Westley Pearson, Director of Claims and Marketing at Animal Friends, said: “It’s common knowledge amongst dog owners that poultry bones, raw or cooked, are strictly off-limits.
“What many owners don’t realise is that any cooked animal bones are prone to splintering, which can cause lacerations to the throat and digestive tract.
“In fact, most table scraps have their downsides as treats, whether it’s because of toxic ingredients like onions, or the increased risk of obesity and pancreatitis from fatty offcuts.”
Mr Pearson added: “To play it safe, keep all scraps well out of reach of curious snouts and only give your pet food specifically designed for them.”