A VET is warning dog owners to watch what they feed their pets after seeing a boxer die a ‘horrible death’ from bloating.
Catrina Durose, of Rocester’s Abbeyfield vets, was called out last week after the pooch ballooned after being fed liver, onions and chips.
She performed life-saving surgery on the young male dog and tended to it all night.
However, there was nothing Miss Durose could do to save the boxer as it suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest and failed to respond to resuscitation attempts.
She said: “Being called out to a bloated dog is a vet’s worst nightmare. In this case, the animal was at death’s door just an hour or so after eating – he could’ve had a heart attack at any minute.
“I did everything I possibly could to save him but there’s about a 30 per cent survival rate for dogs suffering serious bloating.
“He was blown up when he arrived and got progressively worse, with his organs loaded up with toxins.
“I had to stay up all night with him. I can’t sleep when something like that’s happening. I feel guilty for even getting two hours’ sleep.
“It’s not easy to detach yourself from the situation and, as when any animal dies here, it was a very upsetting experience for me.
“You feel this illogical guilt, despite having done everything possible to save the animal.
With pet owners expressing worry about their animals being bitten by the now-notorious false widow spider, Ms Durose told the Post and Times bloating is a much more realistic threat.
“I haven’t had any clients come in whose pets have been affected by false widows since the media started reporting on them.
“But I do see dogs who are suffering from bloating. Humans just feel a bit of discomfort when they’re bloated, but the problem is far more serious in larger dogs like boxers, greyhounds, Burmese and St Bernards.
“If these dogs are fed anything they’re not used to or allowed to exercise 30 minutes before or after eating, they’re at risk.
“If they exercise too close to eating, it’s not uncommon for them to have a twisted stomach, which leads to bloating.
“With many larger breeds, heart disease and bloating are two of the most common causes of death.”
Ms Durose is asking dog owners to ensure they avoid giving their dogs fatty, rich foods during the upcoming festive period.
She said: “Dogs should only eat dog food in my opinion. It’s made for them and it’s risky to feed them anything else.”