Bandit the border collie was on critical list before being saved by emergency vets

A THREE-LEGGED dog called Bandit nearly died — after he got into a compost bin and ate the contents.

The lovable border collie used his nose to slide the bin’s hatch open, then munched through the mouldy food and garden waste inside.

Foaming at the mouth and shaking uncontrollably, four-year-old Bandit was rushed to Vets Now in Coventry where emergency vets feared he’d suffered a brain tumour.

But thanks to the incredible treatment he received, he pulled through – and amazingly was well enough to go home the next day with owner Jeanette Pugh.

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The drama happened just three months after poor Bandit had to have his left hind leg amputated.

He underwent surgery after dislocating his hip and snapping his cruciate ligament, injuries which three separate operations were unable to heal.

Against the odds, Bandit recovered full speed and mobility after the amputation and even learned to swim again — only to come a cropper in the compost bin.

Teacher Jeanette, 51, from Alcester, Warwickshire, said: “Bandit really has been through the wars. But he’s got tremendous spirit.

“We were at a friend’s house getting ready to go on holiday in our motorhome when suddenly Bandit started to shake.

“I thought maybe that getting ready for the holidays was making him upset or anxious.

“So I went to give him a cuddle — and realised he couldn’t stand up. The shaking started getting much worse, and I carried him into the house.

“I could feel his heart racing, and I began to panic. We’d been through so much with Bandit I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.

“At this point, we’d no idea he’d been in the compost bin.

“His eyes were dilated, his head was twitching, and his fur was soaking all the way down from his mouth.”

“Bandit’s case shows just how dangerous compost, and soil dressings such as cocoa mulch, can be to dogs. You should always keep it out of reach and if you suspect your dog has eaten it seek urgent advice."

Principal Nurse Manager

Jeanette phoned pet emergency service Vets Now — who arranged for Bandit to be admitted immediately to their clinic in Coventry.

With no obvious sign that he’d eaten anything untoward, staff feared Bandit had a brain tumour.

Jeanette meanwhile returned to her friend Sarah’s house in Warwick to look for any clues as to what had happened.

She said: “We’d seen him sniffing around the compost bin earlier while he was out in the garden but didn’t think anything of it.

“But when we went back, we saw the hatch at the bottom of the bin was open — and it had definitely been closed when he first went into the garden because we checked.

“So Bandit has come along and managed to slide the hatch across, which you have to say is pretty ingenious when he’s only got three legs.

“He needs all three legs to stand so he can’t have used his paws to open it. He’s obviously used his nose to push it across. I rang the vets straight away.”

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Image of Bandit the dog who eat compost and his owner for Vets Now article
Bandit with his loving owner Jeanette

The Vets Now clinic in Coventry — where Bandit received treatment — was recently rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Speaking about Bandit’s treatment, Amanda-Jane Erne, principal nurse manager, said: “When Bandit was admitted he was conscious but in a critical condition.

“He was shaking uncontrollably, unresponsive and panting a lot.

“After Jeanette rang to say he’d been in at the compost bin, the vet diagnosed mycotoxocosis, which is poisoning by products contaminated by fungi such as mouldy food.

“We gave Bandit intravenous fluids and an intravenous medication to rid his body of the toxins.

“We monitored him very closely and as the night wore on his condition improved rapidly. By the early hours of the morning he was much brighter and far more vocal.

“Bandit’s case shows just how dangerous compost, and soil dressings such as cocoa mulch, can be to dogs.

“You should always keep it out of your dog’s reach and if you suspect your dog has eaten it you should seek urgent veterinary advice.

“Early aggressive treatment is essential for the best chance of success.”

Bandit was treated with medication available through Vets Now’s innovative Tox Box scheme. It provides veterinary practices with 24-hour access to the drugs used in the emergency treatment of poisoning.

Image of Bandit the dog
Bandit before he lost one of his legs

Jeanette added: “The staff at Vets Now saved Bandit’s life. They were brilliant.

“I’m very grateful as well to my own vet, Hugh Duffin at the Animal House in Warwick, who use Vets Now for evening and weekend emergency cover.

“It was Hugh who dealt with Bandit after he hurt his leg and did the amputation in January.

“And when we took Bandit in for a check-up with Hugh after all this happened last month, he said to me, ‘Bandit’s been in more fights than Frank Bruno’ and he’s absolutely right.

“But when you look at Bandit now, he’s totally back to normal. When we were on holiday, he was running around and swimming in lakes like nothing had happened.

“One thing we will be doing is making very sure he doesn’t go near any compost again!”

Vets Now is open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.