If you don't have a dog, send it to
your friends who do.
On June 22, 2008 , my 10-year old lab
mix, Chai, sustained a severe injury from a product that the company
Four Paws, Inc., produces. The toy I'm referencing is the pimple ball
with bell (Item #20227-001, UPC Code #0 4566320227 9).
While chewing on the toy, a vacuum was
created and it effectively sucked his tongue into the hole in the ball.
From speaking with my vet, this likely occurred because there is not a
second hole in the ball preventing the vacuum effect from happening. I
became aware of this when Chai approached a friend at my home whimpering
with the ball in his mouth.. She tried unsuccessfully to remove the ball
but the tongue had swollen and could not be released.
Chai was taken to the Animal Medical
Center (an emergency care facility in New York City ) and was treated by
Dr. Nicole Spurlock to have the ball removed. Because the size of the
opening on t he ball was so small, all circulation to his tongue was cut
off. The doctors had to sedate him in ord er to remove it. Once the ball
was removed, his tongue swelled to the point that he could no longer put
it in his mouth. Chai was sent home with care instructions and to be
observed overnight for any changes.
By the following morning, Chai's
tongue had swollen even more.
He was taken to his regular vet, Dr.
Timnah Lee, for treatment. He was admitted and kept sedated for a period
of three days during which time they were treating his wounds and
waiting to determine how much of his tongue could be saved. On June 26,
2008 , Chai had his tongue amputated.
He was kept in after-care for an
additional three days. On Sunday, June 29th, I brought Chai home from
the vet with a barrage of home care instructions, to last for an
additional 7 days. His next visit was to have his mouth re-examined and
have the feeding tube in his neck removed.
On the way home from the vet we
stopped at Petland Discount where I purchased their product to speak to
the manager on duty. Upon meeting Chai and seeing his condition, he
removed all of the balls in question from the shelves. He also ga ve me
the customer service number to their corporate headquarters to request
that they refuse to continue purchasing all Four Paws products, but I
have not called them as of yet.
Additionally, I shared my story with
friends who have a French Bulldog named Petunia. Upon hearing my story,
their eyes widened. They explained that the same thing happened twice in
one night with a smaller version of the same ball to their dog.
Fortunately, they were able to pull it off before the tongue swelled,
but not without tremendous effort and pain to the dog. They recalled how
horrific it was to hear their dog screaming while they had to pry the
ball from her tongue.
To date, my veterinary bills total
over $5,000 and I will have regular follow up appointments for some
time. Additionally, Chai now requires a much more expensive form of food
because of this injury, averaging approximately $200 per month.
Additionally, I now have to re-teach
my dog to eat, drink and adjust to life without his tongue. Feeding him
takes me about 90 minutes twice a day and for at least this first week
he is not to be unattended for more than 20 minutes at a time.