German Shepherd pup saved by surgery to remove kebab stick after Northamptonshire family BBQ

Vets operate to remove spike from 10-month-old Bear

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 10:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 10:34 am

A Northamptonshire vet is warning warning pet owners to beware at barbecues after a puppy nearly died after swallowing a kebab stick.

Amazingly, the wooden spike avoided 10-month-old Bear’s major organs and was only discovered TWO MONTHS later when it worked its way into a leg and she started limping.

Vet Dr Jamie McClement carefully removed the four-inch-long stick during an urgent operation at Abington Park Surgery.

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Grateful owner Richard Davidson said: “Dogs are so crafty when it comes to food and they are just so quick. Because we already have a dog that will eat anything, we always try to be as careful as possible.

“In this instance we didn’t even see her take it and don’t know if she sneaked it off someone’s plate. So, we didn’t realise that there was any problem at all.

“Months later she started to limp and then that gradually got worse. It became so bad that she wouldn’t walk on her back leg and we took her to the vets.

“We would never have thought that a kebab stick could possibly have been the cause of her limp.


“We are just grateful that it missed vital organs and passed through the intestine without causing serious damage.

“We know it could have been fatal and we were very lucky. We’ve become even more careful and even have doggie guards at the kitchen door now to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

Richard initially took Bear to their own surgery, where an X-ray found no signs of a fracture. But staff did suspect an obstruction so referred her to the team at Abington Park, part of My Family Vets network of UK clinics.

Vet Riccardo Minelli, who examined Bear, admitted: “As soon as she came in and I did an ultrasound scan I could see the foreign body.

Vet Riccardo

"Although the leg was massively swollen, I had still been expecting something like a grass seed, not anything as big as the kebab stick.

“There was no wound or entry point, so it was hard to imagine how something like that had got in.

“The imaging showed that it was very close to large abdominal vessels and the femoral artery. I realised that surgery was required as there was a risk of haemorrhage if we tried to remove it non-invasively.”

Vets say they face a worrying number of such incidents and with a boom in post-lockdown barbecues expected as outdoor gathering restrictions ease during spring, they are appealing to owners to take extra care.

Riccardo added: “We frequently see swallowed kebab sticks, normally stuck in the mouth, the oesophagus or the stomach. But if they do get to the intestine, the animal tends to be unwell quickly — which wasn’t what happened in this case which was very unusual.

“With more people at home at the moment and perhaps having barbecues, there is definitely an increased risk. We’d ask people to be especially vigilant if they have dogs around and to contact their vet right away if they see their pet get hold of one of these things.

“The sooner they get the animal to us the better as we can usually retrieve it without surgery.”