Treat that can be a real risk

Doug Paterson
Doug Paterson

I feel honoured to be writing in the Boxing Day edition of The Falkirk Herald this year. For those of you who read my column last month, I’ve had my say on potential hazards in your Christmas shop for your pet (chocolate, raisins, onions and garlic, and lily flower pollen are all toxic to our pets, so be careful).

And I’ve got one more word of caution for you.

It still surprises me how many pets we see suffering the effects of eating bones. Bones of all sorts have the potential to cause serious upset. I’ve heard all manner of old wives tales about some kinds of bone being fine and others not. I’m afraid the experience in the field is that this simply isn’t true. Bones are a ticking time bomb, even if your dog has been fine the last 15 times he ate a bone, there’s nothing to say that this time won’t be the time they need to come and see me for emergency surgery.

Just yesterday I saw a Border Collie who had completely snapped off the top of his canine tooth chewing on a bone; and last week I had to treat a small cross-bred who managed to eat the bone, but it was causing her absolute agony when she was trying to pass it out the other end. The real problem comes when bones get stuck somewhere in the middle and block the stomach or intestines. These cases need emergency surgery with all the risks that entails.

So the plea from vets all over Scotland, is think carefully before you give your dog a bone of any kind.

There are so many wonderful synthetic and safe dog toys around that, for me, the days of the dog chewing a bone have gone.

Now to end on a more cheerful note, what’s happening at our surgery over Christmas? Well we still need to be here just in case any of our patients fall ill. Glenn and I take it in turns, so this year he has drawn the short straw of Christmas. So no egg-nog or sherry for Glenn on Christmas Day, because he’s covering the phones! I shouldn’t be too smug though, because I don’t get my “wee dram” on Hogmanay, while Glenn will be gleefully skipping off to celebrate New Year with his family. However, if you are at all worried about your pet, safe to say that we’re here. Simply call the surgery and you will get our mobile. We are delighted to give advice over the phone, and would actually prefer to talk to a worried owner, than risk missing something we could have examined and treated.

Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year to all!