Broadcaster Andy Kershaw is mourning the loss of Buster, his 10-year old Schnauzer, to internal damage caused by a bone. Andy and Buster were staying at a camp site when somebody gave Buster a bone without Andy's knowledge or consent. It stuck to his intestine, and needed surgery to be removed. The operation went well, but what claimed Buster's life were post-op complications: he developed peritonitis, which put him back on the operating table. Sadly, he did not pull through.
"He was like no other dog I've known - an outstanding little chap. And we were inseparable for ten years," Andy wrote. "Buster loved everyone. He was warm, generously spirited, and had - uncommonly, for a dog - a sense of humour, a range of facial expressions (bewilderment and exasperation were his best), and a sense of courtesy. I watched him, just recently, sit back and allow a bunch of dogs to have a drink from a bowl before having one himself - last.
"I am distraught, and beyond heartbroken. He was my little pal, my best friend, and my life, for 10 years. Thanks, Buster. You were a great guy. And a noble doggie."
While everyone is aware of the danger of giving a dog cooked bones, fewer realise that raw bones can be dangerous as well - even claiming a dog's life, as it was the case with Buster.
Louise Lee, from Blue Cross, said, "If large chunks are bitten off chews or bones then they can lodge in the mouth, the bowel or worst of all, in the oesophagus, the tube between the mouth and the stomach. Bones stuck in the oesophagus are particularly difficult to remove and can kill, as can any blockage.
"A bone lodged across the roof of the mouth can’t usually be just pulled out – you need to use a blunt lever, pivoting on a tooth (usually best done by your vet – you might get bitten and your dog will often need sedation). It’s often a good idea to watch other dogs and talk to their owners, if nothing else it will give you options to chew over."