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Dog undergoes emergency surgery after swallowing 34 Christmas decorations

Labrador was violently sick and appeared to be going into shock

Ben Mitchell
Sunday 22 December 2019 10:18 GMT
Seven-year-old Marley was rushed to the pet hospital after being violently sick
Seven-year-old Marley was rushed to the pet hospital after being violently sick (PA)

A seven-year-old labrador has undergone two lifesaving operations after gorging on more than 30 home-made gingerbread Christmas tree decorations.

Owner Rachael Bulmer, from Bournemouth, rushed her pet Marley to the PDSA pet hospital in the Dorset town, where vets performed emergency surgery to remove ribbons attached to the biscuits.

Ms Bulmer, 37, said: “I had been baking gingerbread tree decorations, and left them in gift bags on the kitchen counter side, ready to give as Christmas treats.

“I thought I’d left them safely out of reach, but when I noticed some were gone, I instantly knew who had taken them.

“Over the years Marley’s been no stranger to eating things he shouldn’t and usually they pass through.

“But this time he started acting strangely and looked like he was going into shock. He was violently sick and brought up some of the ribbon.”

During the operations, which lasted three hours, the vets managed to remove 34 decorative ribbons that had been attached to the tree decorations and were causing a potentially fatal blockage.

They also found that Marley had swallowed a number of bones, which had also become lodged in its stomach.

PDSA senior vet Aoife Clancy said: “It was a lengthy, high-risk surgery. Marley’s chances of surviving the night were looking poor, so he was transferred to the out-of-hours provider, Vets Now, so he could be cared for overnight.

Marley had gorged on 34 of the gingerbread decorations with ribbons attached (PA)

“Thankfully he pulled through but needed critical round-the-clock care for four days before he could go home.”

Ms Bulmer said: “There were so many times we thought that was it, and with the heaviest of hearts, we were preparing to say goodbye to him. But he kept on fighting, and somehow made it through surgery – he really is our miracle dog.”

Marley has now been brought home for “strict cage rest” and is beginning to recover.

Ms Bulmer added: “I don’t know what I would have done without the incredibly kind and caring staff at PDSA – they were phenomenal.

“They went above and beyond for him and I will be forever grateful. We’ve not moved from his side now he’s finally at home, and even sleep next to him at night. He’s getting better and that’s the best Christmas present I could ever want.”

The treatment has cost PDSA more than £2,000, paid for by public donations.

Ms Clancy said: “It’s important that owners make sure decorations and toxic Christmas foods are safe from curious paws, as they can be incredibly harmful to our pets.

“Foods including mince pies, chocolate, onions, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, sage-and-onion stuffing and Christmas cake can all be fatal.

“Keep an eye out for signs including vomiting, diarrhoea, drinking excessively, shaking and restlessness. It’s best to contact the vet as soon as you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, rather than waiting for symptoms.”

Press Association

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