Chicken kebabs are off the menu for Boris the dog, after the pup’s owners were slugged with a $13,000 vet bill after it ate a wooden skewer, and had to have emergency heart surgery.
Owner Allison Lonergan said her family was enjoying a barbecue in early January when they went to fetch the extra chicken skewers from the kitchen bench, only to find them missing – the likely destination being Boris’ belly.
“He never steals food. This is the first time he has stolen food from anywhere,” she said.
Boris passed some of the chicken skewers and appeared to be in good spirits, until a month later when the pooch started to exhibit some strange behaviour.
The family noticed Boris was not acting normally and was lethargic. After multiple vet visits and scans, Ms Lonergan noticed the pup had started coughing up blood.
“They gave him a chest X-ray and found that he had fluid around his heart,” she said.
Following the X-ray, vets at the North Hobart Veterinary Clinic finally discovered the problem.
“The doctor comes out and says, ‘We’ve got a situation – Boris has a kebab skewer in his heart’,” Ms Lonergan said.
She said she was told Boris needed emergency surgery, or had to be put down.
For Ms Lonergan, it was an easy decision.
“He was only 19 months old when this happened. It was just like ‘Nah, just have to do it! We will find a way’.”
Kebab ban after Boris’ bungle
Manty Arnott from the North Hobart Veterinary Clinic told ABC Local Radio Boris was very lucky.
“We assume the skewer turned around and went up through the stomach wall and up through the diaphragm and into the left atrium of the heart,” Dr Arnott said.
In a lucky turn of events for young Boris, the North Hobart Veterinary Clinic had a visiting cardiologist in town the day Boris came in.
“I think he is incredibly lucky – it was probably the best day for him to be here,” Dr Arnott said.
The vet told Ms Lonergan the skewer was millimetres from Boris’ aorta, and one wrong move could have meant another ending to Boris’ tale.
Ms Arnott said while it was not rare for a dog to eat something it shouldn’t, the fact that the skewer stayed in Boris for a month before he exhibited poor health was “a freak event”.
The Lonergan family is now facing nearly $13,000 in vet bills, and are being extra careful to ensure Boris does not get anywhere near a skewer again.
“There are no kebabs to be in this house ever again.” Ms Lonergan said.