A Teesside couple were forced to foot an eye-watering £1,300 vet bill after they claim a 99p bone bought from Home Bargains almost killed their corgi when it tore the pooch’s insides.
Pippa Wilson, from Middlesbrough, bought three bones for Albas as a treat. The 26-year-old says her pooch happily chomped his way through the ham-flavoured bone but started vomiting and suffering with bloody diarrhoea the next day.
Worried Pippa and 37-year-old shop owner partner, Sam Hossein, rushed their pet to their vet, where he had an x-ray. The scan confirmed pieces of the bone had become stuck inside Albas, tearing his intestines and other internal organs.
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The couple, who have three children, claim they were left to fork out £1,300 to save the pint-sized pooch’s life. The delicate operation involved putting Albas to sleep while the bone shards were carefully extracted from his bum.
Two weeks on from his ordeal, Albas is slowly recovering at home but Pippa says he isn’t out of the woods yet as he’s at increased risk of a life-threatening infection. The retail assistant is now urging owners to do their research before buying dog treats and for the retailer to pull the bones from the shelves.
Home Bargains said they were ‘very sorry to hear of this unfortunate event’, and were liaising closely with the manufacturer and the customer.
Pippa said: “The day after I gave him the bone, he was so unwell with vomit and diarrhea and blood coming out of his back end. We thought he had a sickness bug with so much going around.
“He was crying and was really poorly and we knew he wasn’t right and my partner took him to work and he was vomiting and diarrhoea all over the shop. He was straining like he was trying to go to the toilet but nothing was coming out.
“That night he slept in the outhouse, he didn’t want to come in the house I think because he knew he was making a mess everywhere. I told my partner there was something really wrong.
“We took him to the vet and we couldn’t believe it, the bill was going higher and higher. The vet put her finger up his bum and said that the bone was there, inside him.
“It was very upsetting for the kids to see him like this, we thought we were going to lose him. We were taking photos of him thinking it was going to be the last time to get photos of him.”
Staff carried out an x-ray where they discovered that the bone had torn Albas’ intestines and other internal organs, causing internal bleeding. They warned they may need to operate on Albas to remove the bone which would have pushed the bill up to £3,000 but they managed to retrieve most of it and he’s now at home.
But due to the internal damage Pippa says that Albas has been left at risk of contracting a fatal infection called peritonitis.
Pippa said: “They x-rayed him and found there was a lot of bone and he was bleeding from inside. His intestines were bleeding.
“I was so shocked, I didn’t take it in. My partner told me to tell them to operate. He didn’t care about the money, he wanted him to be ok. We couldn’t let anything happen to him.
“We had to syringe-feed him for days, food, water and he was on antibiotics. He’s started to eat a little bit now.
“My partner has been sleeping downstairs with him. He’s still bleeding and there’s blood in his poo. He’s not better and there’s a high risk of infection due to the cuts from the bones inside.
“The vet has said if he gets it, it’s fatal and there’s nothing they can really do about it. I’m panicking that he could catch this infection.
“It’s early days and we have to wait because he could pick up and get worse again. The bone is really dangerous.”
Pippa shared the incident on Facebook to raise awareness of what’s happened, with the post racking up more than 18,000 reactions. Many have sympathized with the family’s predicament, while others have suggested Albas was ‘too small’ for the bone.
Pippa said: “I went in to get a couple of bits as usual [and] thought the bones would be a nice treat for him. You wouldn’t even think that something could be dangerous to a dog.
“We got home, he was excited and we gave him the bone. With the kids, we don’t always have the time to entertain him as much as he wants and thought the bone would keep him happy for a little bit but it’s the worst thing we’ve ever done.
“I don’t know what we’d do without him. We were there the whole time he was chewing it, he wasn’t left unsupervised. It’s unbelievable.
“People have commented asking why I’d even given my dog the bone and saying it’s really irresponsible but I had no idea that it could cause harm. If we’d known, we certainly wouldn’t have given Albas the bone.
“When you trust the retailer and shop there often, you don’t expect it. Some people have said Albas is small, why would I give him a bone? But he’s not small, he weighs 19kilos.
“He’s short but not small and his head is almost the size of a Shepherd. He’s a very busy dog, he’s a working breed.
“People have thanked me for sharing this because they’ve bought the bone for their dog and would have given it to them. It might not happen to every dog but there’s a high risk and it’s not worth it.”
Pippa says she reported the incident to Home Bargains and hopes the company will reimburse her for the vet bill and take the bone off the shelves.
Pippa said: “I’m hoping for them to reimburse the vet bills and get the bone taken off the shelves but it doesn’t seem likely. We’ve had to go through all of this due to the bone they’re selling and it’s cost us a lot of money.”
A Home Bargains spokesman said: “We were very sorry to hear of this unfortunate event, and we are liaising closely with the manufacturer and the complainant.”