Never feed your dog corncobs!

Tiger4Meet 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 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 TAH operated again, removing all the dying skin and re-suturing the wound.
But it wasn’t looking good. We feel so sorry for the poor dog – and his people. Tiger just lay in his cage on his drip looking so sad.

We had to advise his owner that there is a slim possibility that his boy may not make it, although the vets at TAH Bellville 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. And many people aren’t aware how dangerous they can be; they can cause a major blockage in the intestines, and can even kill. 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 mealies OFF the cob – but never give whole or pieces of the cob (‘stronk’).

Tiger3After 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.

Really, it was a true joy to behold. 🙂 Plus, we know, the message will spread now and, hopefully, other dogs will not have to go through the same thing too.

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.

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