Never feed your dog corncobs!


Meet Tiger. This isn’t just the story of a dog who needed our help. It is also a cautionary tale. 

In February, Tiger’s owners, a family from Fisantekraal, called us as they were terribly worried because Tiger didn’t want to eat and was ‘just lying there’. Our volunteer went out after work to fetch him as the owner had no transport. What the vet discovered was going to need a big op and would be pricey to fix…
So, we took him to Animal Anti-Cruelty League as they would be able to do the op for a more affordable fee.

Poor Tiger had to have abdominal surgery, going right into his bowels to remove what was there. The awesome AACL vets did a great job and everything was removed! However, that is not the end of the story…

The wound didn’t want to heal – the skin was dying around it. He was weak and depressed. The great vets at Tygerberg Animal Hospital operated again, removing all the dying skin and re-suturing the wound. But it wasn’t looking good. Tiger just lay in his cage on his drip looking so sad.

We had to advise his owner that there was a possibility that his dog may not make it, although the vets were doing everything they could for him; he was placed on a sponsored drip and was kept comfy in a heated cage.

The reason we told his story is not to make people sad. It is because we need to make people aware. The thing that caused all of this suffering (and cost) is nothing other than an ordinary, everyday corncob (‘mieliestronk’).

It is not the first dog we have heard of to have become extremely ill or even died from eating a corncob. People think it makes a nice nibble for their dog because it is shaped like a bone, is ‘food-like’, and tastes nice. But many people are not aware of how dangerous they can be; they can cause a major blockage in the intestines, perforate the intestine, and lead to a painful death. It is often particularly dangerous in larger dogs because they don’t nibble – they chomp-chomp-swallow, and big pieces go down which are more likely to get stuck in the bowels.


Bottom line: please, please do NOT give your dogs corncobs! Ever. They can have some meilies OFF the cob – but never give whole or pieces of the cob (‘stronk’).

After many prayers and good wishes, on 2 March Tiger went home. He had made it. His owners couldn’t believe he’d survived! Neither could we, after the whole dramatic series of events – from discovering the corncob stuck in his gut, and major surgery at AACL, to having the skin die off, needing another surgery at TAH, and then lying so still and depressed – touch and go – for several days.

When we returned to check on his wound site and remove the ‘cone of shame’, the whole family was there waiting for us – and it was clear how much he is loved. He even sleeps in the house (not the norm in Fisantekraal).

His owner told us how bones and corncobs are now BANNED – they had no idea it could be dangerous. She said how proud she was that, after coming home so thin from being on a drip, she managed to get him to put on weight by buying him a can of food every day (which they can ill afford) and even cooking meals for him while he recuperates. And how she is telling everyone never, ever to give bones and corn cobs to their dogs.

THANK YOU to everyone who sent your positive thoughts and prayers to him to get better, and to those who donated towards his R3500 bill, AND to the vets of Tygerberg Animal Hospital who went above and beyond on his treatment.

©Copyright reserved Fisantekraal Animal Welfare 2016

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