In 2013, during my service year¹, I met a dog lover who had owned several dogs while growing up. She got my contact, promised to ring me when she got a puppy and that was it.
Several months passed and I forgot about her. Then I received a call and it was Madam X, she had gotten a puppy and wanted me to check it out. We fixed an appointment and that’s how I met Rusky.
After several home calls and initial treatments, one fateful day, I was called upon to check on Rusky- a vibrant Caucasian Mix. He hadn’t been his usual friendly self, he had become withdrawn and would hide from his human anytime she wanted to play with him. I got there and did a general checkup. All parameters were normal. To complicate matters, his appetite was top notch. What could be the problem? I told her to continue to monitor him and inform me if anything changed. I thought it was a behavioural problem and would phase out with time. So I encouraged her children to continue to shower adorable Rusky with love and attention. Still the attitude persisted.
Two days later I was called upon again. This time he was hypersalivating (drooling excessively). I hurried down, consulted with another colleague and gave atropine (a drug which amongst other things helps to reduce saliva production). Asides the hypersalivation, he was normal still and eating voraciously. “So what could the problem be?” I thought perplexed.
Before I left that day, I observed him eat. His owner had served him with a large-chunked dog can food. I noticed that he struggled to swallow. Then I had a thought, I asked her if she usually gave him chicken bones and she answered in the affirmative. That was when I took ahold of Husky and tried to pry open his mouth, he flinched and resisted. I persisted albeit gently and that’s when I saw the bone lodged in-between his lower jaws.
My goodness! Poor Rusky!! I quickly called his human’s attention, she was shocked.
With the help of local sedatives, a Foerster Sponge Forceps and a colleague, I got the bone out. Rusky bled a little, I gave analgesics(pain reliever) and he was fine.
My client swore NEVER to give any dog CHICKEN BONES again.
¹Service Year: a one-year period where new Nigerian graduates are posted to different parts of the country to serve her fatherland.