Festive turkey bone scare for westie Alfie

02 March 2022 / Dog, General

A beloved Westie who suffered a very unhappy new year after he gobbled down a festive turkey bone is none the worse for wear after the swift actions of the Northwest Veterinary Specialists team

Alfie, the 11-year-old West Highland White Terrier spent the new year bank holiday receiving emergency treatment after the bone became stuck deep in his oesophagus.

Luckily for Alfie, the expert team at NWVS acted swiftly to remove the troublesome turkey bone with strict advice that there should be no fowl play for him in future.

Internal medicine clinician Francesca Venier said: “Alfie swallowed a turkey bone on the evening of January 2 and the following morning he started retching.

“Radiographs at his local vet showed the bone in his oesophagus, and our own radiographs confirmed this, so I performed an oesophageal endoscopy to explore the blockage further and hopefully retrieve it.”

A scan showing the bone in Alfie’s oesophagus

Unfortunately, the bone was severely stuck in its position and despite all her efforts, Francesca couldn’t dislodge it. Alfie was transferred to theatre where soft tissue resident Krizia Compagnone was primed to perform surgery to remove the bone.

Krizia says it was a long and arduous procedure, as the bone was stuck deep in Alfie’s throat, close to his stomach.

She said: “The surgery took a long time as the bone was difficult to move even from the gastric approach.

“Eventually, after many attempts and repeatedly lubricating the bone in a bid to dislodge it, we finally managed to move it forward into the oesophagus.

“That’s when we quickly decided to go back to the endoscope so that, while we were still in theatre, I could push from the stomach and Francesca could try to retrieve the bone from the mouth.

“Finally, our nurse Rhian Griffiths-Jones managed to grab it from the back of Alfie’s mouth and pulled it out. 

“We were delighted we were able to remove the bone with this combined surgical and endoscopic approach that spared Alfie a thoracotomy.

“It was a very successful outcome to a very challenging, emergency case and we are pleased Alfie recovered so well.

“We monitored him for 48 hours to make sure there were no complications before discharging him, with medications, to finish his recovery at home with his family.”

Relieved owner Joy Griffiths, from Oswestry, Shropshire, is delighted with Alfie’s recovery but admitted: “He’s a serial offender and is like a cat with nine lives.

“He is a Terrier through and through and in his younger days enjoyed ratting and digging up moles.  Unfortunately, six years ago he needed major surgery after eating a bone. Since then, he’d been banned from having them.

“We have no idea how he managed to get hold of this turkey knuckle bone, it was the size of a gobstopper. It was a left over from an 18lb turkey we had at Christmas. It must have been when he went for his night-time walk but I knew that something was wrong the following morning as Alfie was all hunched up and wrenching.

“I took him to the vets and they could see a bone lodged in his oesophagus and he was referred to Northwest Veterinary Specialists straight away.

“They were excellent. They were on the case very quickly but were hampered because of Alfie’s previous surgery which had left him with a narrower oesophagus and some scarring too.

“Thankfully they managed to successfully retrieve the bone and Alfie has recovered well so we’re very grateful to Krizia, Francesca and the Northwest Veterinary Specialists team.”

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