Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
As a child, I grew up on a farm and had a goat for a pet. One of the first things I learned about caprine critters is that they really will eat pretty much anything.
Grass. Horse feed. Paper. Veterinary gauze (don’t ask). They really will nosh on whatever catches their fancy.
Indria Tuckler wrote, “I purchased several rope toy balls for my dogs at Home Goods. They looked extremely sturdy and impossible to destroy.
“However, I found them in pieces the same day. I quickly threw them away, hoping none of the dogs swallowed the pieces.”
But according to VT, that was exactly what happened. Sam, her 14-month-old golden retriever, somehow got a hold of a section of the rope and gulped it right down.
Tuckler explained that Sam’s symptoms involved vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea and drinking a lot of water. In other words, it presented just like a number of other, mostly harmless canine ailments.
In Sam’s case, though, the end result proved anything but benign.
“The ball unraveled and tore several holes in her intestines as she tried to pass it,” Tuckler explained.
“They removed three feet of rope that was entangled in her intestines,” she said. “They also removed 14 inches of perforated intestines.
“The damage from the rope was so extensive that she passed away two days later. We did not even have the option of having another surgery.”
Tuckler created the post hoping to warn other dog owners about the dangers of the toys. And she isn’t the only one sounding the alarm.
On its blog, Village Vet of Urbana in Maryland highlighted the problems with rope toys.
“If your dog loves to disembowel stuffed animals and decimate Frisbees, he isn’t just ripping these toys apart — he’s eating a portion of them,” the veterinary clinic explained.
“Swallowing strands of rope is much more dangerous than eating chunks of rubber, plastic, or cotton stuffing. Vets describe these strands as ‘linear foreign bodies,’ which are the most harmful objects an animal can swallow.”
Why do such strands pose a great risk than other objects? Well, the natural movement of a dog’s bowels can cause the fiber to cinch tight, pulling on — and sometimes tearing — the intestinal wall.
Tuckler said she hoped other pups would avoid Sam’s untimely demise.
“I believe there is power in numbers, and if we can share Sam’s story, maybe we can save a dog’s life,” she said.
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