Spaniel left unable to eat or drink after biting off more than he could chew

A mischievous dog was left unable to eat or drink after a bone got completely trapped around his jaw.

Loveable liver and white springer spaniel Sam had barely been left alone when the ring-shaped chewy treat became stuck.

With the 21-month-old hound becoming more and more distressed, owner Lucy Walker rushed Sam to her local Vets Now clinic in Reading.

Sadly, our vets regularly see pets who have had bone mishaps and are now warning against feeding pets potentially hazardous treats over the festive period.

Image of Sam the spaniel with a bone stuck around his jaw for Vets Now article on dog bone stuck
Sam couldn't eat or drink after getting a bone stuck round his jaw ©Vets Now

Lucy, who has been breeding dogs for 30 years as well as keeping them as much-loved pets, is also keen to raise awareness and warn other owners.

She currently has six springers running around the house and it was during a family visit that disaster struck.

“My sister-in-law had come round and because of Covid we were standing outside chatting while social distancing,” said Lucy, who lives near Reading.

“Sam was with the other dogs in the kitchen and I thought I’d picked up all the marrow bones they’d been playing with. I didn’t think he’d be bothered anyway as he’s usually just obsessed with playing with a tennis ball.

“But his mum must have had this one in her crate and he’d gone in and got hold of it.

“One minute he was there in the kitchen and the next my daughter noticed he’d got this wedged on his lower jaw.”

Image of the bone stuck around Sam's jaw for Vets Now article on dog bone stuck
The distressing incident resulted in a dash to Vets Now's clinic in Reading ©Vets Now

Initially, Lucy thought it would hopefully be a straightforward matter to remove it. Her daughter, who is studying to become a vet, tried her best to manoeuvre it free but to no avail.

“Lubricating didn’t work and trying to cut it free would just have been too dangerous as he was becoming quite distressed,” said Lucy. “Although it wasn’t affecting his breathing, his tongue was trapped under the bone and he was trying to scratch at it.

“We knew something needed to be done urgently and our vet was shut in the evening, so we called Vets Now. They were absolutely fantastic and said to bring him down straight away.”

Vet Anita Notenboom has huge experience in dealing with all kinds of unusual emergencies and had to use all of that to save the day for Sam.

Image of the bone after it was removed from Sam's jaw for Vets Now article on dog bone stuck
The team at our Reading clinic were able to remove the bone from Sam's jaw ©Vets Now

“The marrow bone was covering a third of the tongue and lower jaw and trying to ease it off without sedation was obviously causing Sam discomfort,” said Anita.

“So, the quickest and most practical way was to use a general anaesthetic and then manoeuvre it off, guaranteeing he would not feel any pain.

“Sedation was considered but there was a possibility of needing to manually saw it off, and sedation alone may have not been enough to eliminate any stress or pain if that was the case. Thankfully we actually managed to do this within just a few minutes, with no cutting and with the absolute minimum of impact to the mouth.”

Image of Sam the Spaniel after having the bone removed from around his jaw for Vets Now article on dog bone stuck
Thankfully, the team was able to remove the bone quickly ©Vets Now

Our vets and vet nurses regularly see dogs with digestive tract damage and blockages caused by large pieces of bone being swallowed and becoming stuck.

In many cases, surgery is required to remove the bone and, occasionally, the blockage can be fatal. As a result, Vets Now does not recommend bones as treats.

Anita added: “I’d urge pet owners to be aware of the risks that bones, and other potentially hazardous treats, can pose to their pet, especially at this time of year when pets are more likely to get these things bought for them.”

Lucy and family, who were waiting by the phone at home, were delighted to be able to go and pick him up in the early hours of the morning.

Image of Sam the spaniel at the clinic for Vets Now article on dog bone stuck
Sam was ready to go home soon after ©Vets Now

“It was just amazing how Anita had managed to wiggle it off and just great to have help there when we needed it,” said Lucy.

“And Sam was absolutely fine, despite having had a general anaesthetic. In fact, he bounded out and leapt into the car as if nothing had happened.

“I’ll definitely make sure always to take any marrow bones away if they are getting at all hazardous and people just need to be really careful. Dogs do silly things and it can happen so quickly.”

The Vets Now Reading clinic is one of a nationwide chain of more than 60 hospitals and clinics open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.

Vets Now has also recently launched an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available.

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

If a pet needs to be treated at Vets Now, pet owners are refunded the online consultation fee.