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Leon Tomasevic, from Nottingham, has faced a double dose of barbecue agonies with his Labradoodle Riley.
The 20-month-old hound has twice swallowed potentially deadly spikes after licking a wire cleaning brush.
Now, Leon is calling for a ban on the cheap, flimsy brushes whose bristles shed easily and can perforate internal organs, causing fatal bleeding.
“The first time was at home when he’d gone out in the garden in the morning as a puppy and found the barbecue brush lying around,” says Leon, 39.
“We had absolutely no idea of the dangers but when he started chewing at it, because of the flavours and scents of the cooking, the tiny bristles just came off.
“He was sick within minutes and our vets were incredibly worried. There were literally hundreds of bristles, and it would have been impossible to operate and get them all out.”
The only option was to bulk-feed Riley, giving him repeated meals of pasta, bread and mashed potato to try to help the bristles pass through naturally without causing damage.
Thankfully, it worked after a few days, but on the second occasion, the family were visiting friends and were not aware there was a barbecue with a brush in the garden.
Before they could do anything, hungry Riley had chewed at the brush head, ingesting the razor-sharp bristles.
“I saw he’d gone quiet, which is generally a sign of mischief, and my heart sank when I saw what he was doing,” said Leon. “I couldn’t believe it had happened again.
“It was a Sunday so I called Vets Now straight away and got him along as fast as I could.
“He was sick in the car and then he had to be sedated for the X-rays, which showed he was absolutely full to the brim of little wire bristles in his stomach and intestines.”
The treatment was carried out at Vets Now’s Nottingham clinic, which is open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.
After the X-ray and careful examination, Riley was allowed home to follow the same bulk feeding regime. Once again it worked, but having seen his dog face death twice, Leon thinks more needs to be done.
“These brushes should be banned, they are absolutely deadly,” said Leon. “If you scrub a grill with a cheap one, you’ll see these bristles just fly off and they are real killers.”
Barbecue cleaning brushes are just one of the hazards that have caused a shock surge in the number of pet emergencies.
Dave Leicester, head of telehealth at Vets Now, says care needs to be taken to avoid summer fun turning to anguish.
“You and your guests should be aware of which foods are dangerous to your pets,” said Dave.
“Alcohol, corn on the cob and bones are particular barbecue hazards. Foods that are high in fat can cause pancreatitis which can be serious - sometimes even fatal.
“Pets, especially dogs, are skilled at sniffing out leftovers. Aluminium foil, plastic wrap, matches and kebab skewers can be dangerous, especially if they’re covered in grease or other food.”
All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.
The emergency vets 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 Riley’s, 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.