Festive turkey bone scare for westie Alfie - Veterinary Practice
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Festive turkey bone scare for westie Alfie

A troublesome turkey bone lodged in a westie’s throat has been removed by Northwest Veterinary Specialist

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 a Cheshire animal hospital.

Alfie, the 11-year-old West Highland White Terrier spent the new year bank holiday receiving emergency treatment at Linnaeus-owned Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) in Runcorn, Cheshire, after the turkey 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.

Northwest Veterinary Specialists’ 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 were performed at his local vet which showed the bone in his caudal thoracic oesophagus.

“Our own radiographs confirmed this and I performed an oesophageal endoscopy to explore the blockage further and hopefully retrieve it.”

Unfortunately, the turkey 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. Krizia said: “Due to the caudal position of the turkey bone, we elected to proceed with a laparotomy and gastrotomy, instead of thoracotomy, as we tried to remove the bone from the stomach. 

“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. Fortunately, the turkey bone had been stuck for less than 24 hours, and therefore the lesions on the oesophageal mucosa were superficial and not concerning.

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, said: “He’s a serial offender and is like a cat with nine lives. We have no idea how he managed to get hold of this turkey bone, which was a left over from an 18lb turkey we had at Christmas.

“Northwest Veterinary Specialists 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 team.”

Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) is one of the UK’s leading specialist-led animal hospitals. It offers top quality care in anaesthesia and analgesia, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery. 

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