Greedy Marmite rushed to Vets Now in Winchester after swallowing husk

A dog needed emergency surgery after a corn-on-the-cob got stuck in his gut – several weeks after he swallowed it.

Greedy beagle Marmite had to have part of his intestines removed after vets discovered the husk lodged in a life-threatening position.

Owner Helen Harvey, from Andover, Hants, only realised something was wrong when Marmite started being violently sick.

It’s thought the husk had been in the nine-year-old’s gut for a considerable amount of time before causing a serious blockage.

Marmite the beagle lying in his bed for Vets Now article on dog ate corn cob
Marmite became violently sick after eating a corn on the cob several weeks earlier ©Vets Now

Unlike most vegetables, corn-on-the-cobs don’t digest in a dog’s stomach – and we have drawn up an advice guide on what to do if your dog eats one.

If the husk ends up resting in the digestive system it can be there until it passes through to the intestine or until it’s surgically removed.

This can sometimes take weeks or even months.

Incredibly, this was the second time Marmite’s needed critical care after scoffing a corn husk – and it shows the danger of discarding them thoughtlessly after barbecues and meals.

Helen remembered vividly the day, several weeks earlier, he swallowed the cob as she had a sinking feeling it could eventually make him ill.

She recalled: “I actually cried walking home as I thought it would cause him problems, but nothing seemed to be wrong with him to begin with.

“Then he suddenly started being really sick.

“He was sick seven or eight times, real projectile vomiting that went everywhere,” Helen added. “We were really concerned and, by this time it was 1am, so it was a real Godsend to have Vets Now on the end of the phone.

“I was told to take him straight down to the clinic and it was a really worrying journey. He was so ill that I really thought I was going to lose him this time.”

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

Image of Marmite the beagle with his owner for Vets Now article on dog are corn cob
Marmite's owner Helen was terrified she might lose him ©Vets Now

As soon as he was handed over the skilled team swung into action.

Molly Wilson, who is a vet nurse at Vets Now in Winchester, said: “Marmite was in a lot of pain and retching badly when he was brought in.

“We stablised him and performed various tests which highlighted there was a high chance of an obstruction in the small intestine.

“We kept a close eye on him overnight and, thankfully, he remained stable enough to be transferred back to his daytime practice, Foxcotte vets, the next morning.”

Later that day, Marmite underwent a four-hour operation to remove the corn on the cob that involved cutting away a few inches of his intestine.

He then returned to Vets Now for further post-operative care.

Helen and her family adopted Marmite when he was three and learned he’d a history of eating so-called foreign objects, including socks.

They always kept a close eye on him while out for walks but four years ago he ate a corn-on-the-cob he’d found in a discarded fast-food container.

On that occasion he needed urgent veterinary treatment to remove it. But this time it took far longer for Marmite’s gluttonous ways to come back to haunt him.

Vet nurse Molly added: “In the end, he was very lucky to survive. There was a risk of complications, and the operation to remove the cob came with its own dangers.

“But Marmite’s case was a great example of the Vets Now team working together with one of our daytime partner practices to save a life.”

Thankfully, the operation and all the ongoing care were a success and Marmite is now back to his old self.

After a double drama involving corn-on-the-cob, Helen admits she is more cautious than ever about what Marmite may be able to get hold of.

And with barbecue and picnic season now underway, she is right behinds Vets Now’s calls for increased awareness about corn husks.

“I was most impressed by the level of care and customer service that I received at Vets Now. Both vet Jacek and vet nurse Molly were brilliant.

“I know of a neighbour whose Labrador had to be put to sleep after eating a corn on the cob, so they can be so dangerous,” said Helen. “Try and be as vigilant as you can and definitely get help just as soon as you can if you suspect they’ve eaten one of these.”

All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.

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, like Marmite’s, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have.

If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, Vets Now will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.