A Shih Tzu puppy from Plymouth needed lifesaving treatment from PDSA after swallowing potentially lethal fishing gear – hook, line and sinker.
Four-month-month-old Oscar was left reel-ing after he and owner Louise Northcott went for a dockside walk in the Mount Wise district of Plymouth: “We were walking along the docks when Oscar came across the remains of a fisherman’s mackerel catch, which had been left on the quayside,” said Louise.
“Before I could react he had gulped some of it down. To my horror, I quickly realised he had not only swallowed the fish but the metal hook and a length of wire too.
“Within seconds Oscar was obviously in great pain and having difficulty breathing. I could see the wire and tried to remove it, but couldn’t. His breathing became more laboured and then he went very quiet.
Now frantic with worry, Louise scooped Oscar up in her arms and with the help of a friend rushed him to Plymouth PDSA PetAid hospital. It was a race against time for PDSA veterinary staff to save Oscar’s life. They took x-rays to discover where the fish hook and wire had lodged internally and then decided on the quickest way to remove both, without placing Oscar at greater risk.
PDSA Veterinary Surgeon Lily Cross, said: “It was very much a race against time to prevent the hook travelling further and causing more problems. We gave him a general anaesthetic and then set to work!”
It proved to be an extremely complicated and lengthy task as the fish hook had lodged in the oesophagus, (the food tube running from the back of the mouth to the stomach).
Lily continued: “It was an incredibly delicate procedure. I could see the hook lodged deep down in the throat but I didn’t want to cause further damage to the oesophageal wall. We had to push, twist and turn the hook around in various directions to get it out.”
It took over one hour to get Oscar ‘off the hook’ but he was given the all-clear soon after coming out of theatre and was sent home the same day. The intrepid puppy has since bounced back from his ‘un-reel’ experience!
Owner Debra continued: “I am extremely grateful to PDSA for saving Oscar’s life. It is still frightening to think how it happened in a matter of seconds. He is my first ever pet and I have realised from this how important his safety is.
Lily Cross added: “Dog owners may not always be aware of the dangers when walking, particularly in areas such as the beach or dockside areas. We urge owners to take extra care while out walking and always seek veterinary advice if your pet is sick or injured.”
PDSA has produced a leaflet called Safety Outdoors which gives owners advice and tips on how to keep their pets safe. The leaflet is part of a series on Responsible Pet Care, which cover a variety of pet care topics. The leaflets are available from PDSA PetAid hospitals and PDSA charity shops nationwide or they can be downloaded from the PDSA website, www.pdsa.org.uk.
Plymouth PDSA PetAid hospital provides free veterinary treatment for the pets of owners who are unable to afford private vets fees. For further information about PDSA PetAid services call 0800 731 2502 or log onto www.pdsa.org.uk.