German Shepherd Calli’s teeth became wedged in the spiral-shaped toy

A dog lover has warned of the dangers of buffalo horn chews after her puppy needed emergency surgery at Vets Now to have one removed from her jaw.

Shock photos show eight-month-old German Shepherd Calli with the spiral-shaped toy wedged on to her face – and our vets carefully trying to remove it.

Now owner Frances Howlett, from Fleet, Hants, has spoken out, as well as contacting the suppliers, to save any other pets from suffering the same fate.

Image of a German shepherd for Vets Now article on are buffalo chews safe for dogs
Eight-month old Calli was rushed to Vets Now after getting a spiral-shaped buffalo horn chew stuck around his jaw

Calli is childminder Frances’s third German Shepherd and she has had the loveable, gentle-natured pup since she was nine weeks old.

“I used to run my dad’s pet shop for many years so I know all about what’s available and what you can give dogs,” said Frances, 60.

“This was a horn from a buffalo that was on sale in the pet section of a garden centre for about £5. It was big and hard and had a curl at the end which I didn’t think anything of at all when she was chewing it. It just seemed a safe, sturdy thing for her to play with.”

But disaster struck just after Frances had gone up to bed, leaving Calli downstairs with her husband James. She was woken by James shouting that Calli had got the horn stuck on her jaw.

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Image of a German shepherd for Vets Now article on are buffalo chews safe for dogs
Calli needed emergency surgery to remove the buffalo chew (©Vets Now)

“I think what had happened was that she has jumped up on to the sofa with the horn in her mouth and it had got caught and jammed on,” said Frances.

“It was just one of those freak accidents. The smaller bit was curled right under her jaw and was trapped by her incisor teeth.

“You could rock it from side to side, but there was just no way of getting it out over her teeth.

“Luckily, she was really calm as it could have been a lot worse if she was panicking and distressed.

“And because I’m used to keeping a cool head because of my childminding, I didn’t panic either.”

Image of a buffalo chew being removed for a dog's jaw for Vets Now article on are buffalo chews safe for dogs
It took the vets and vet nurses 45 minutes to remove the chew (©Vets Now)

Frances had used Vets Now with her previous pets and knew help would be at hand at such a late hour. She and James rushed Calli to our Farnham clinic after midnight.

It’s part of a nationwide network of clinics and hospitals, all open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays.

“This is the first time we have ever seen anything like this,” said our senior vet Stephanie Timmons. “The spiral buffalo horn was very solid and was completely twisted around Calli’s lower jaw.

“We were concerned about possible damage to the jaw and also about stress. We sedated Calli and it took a good 45 minutes of work with an oscillating saw to finally cut it off.”

Image of staff at Vets Now Farnham for Vets Now article on are buffalo chews safe for dogs
Calli was soon back to her old self and her owner can't thank the staff enough (©Vets Now)

Calli was given an anti-inflammatory injection, which also helped with pain relief before she was reunited with a very grateful Frances and James.

“The Vets Now team were so calm and reassuring, which is just what you want in a situation like that,” said Frances. “We could hear them working away for ages and they did an amazing job. I can’t thank them enough.”

Although Calli was a little subdued after the sedation and procedure, she was soon back to her old self. And thanks to the careful removal, there was no lasting damage.

Frances, who was given the horn back to keep, wrote to the suppliers to alert them to what had happened.

“I know it was a freak accident, but I told them what had happened and that I wouldn’t be buying one again or recommending them to anyone,” added Frances. “I just wanted to make them aware so no other dog suffered.”

Vets Now’s pet emergency clinic in Farnham is one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and hospitals open throughout Christmas and New Year. All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and a veterinary nurse on-site at all times.

We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available.

While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns pet owners might have.

If a pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, we will refund the online consultation fee, so owners never pay twice.