Expert vets at a St Anne's in Eastbourne have performed complicated surgery on a much-loved chocolate Labrador who found himself in danger after eating a discarded corn on the cob.

The painful experience for four-year-old Huxley has prompted a call by experts at St Anne’s Veterinary Group, as well as Huxley’s shocked owner, to raise awareness of just how dangerous swallowing a corn on the cob can be for a dog and how it can be easily prevented. 

Huxley had been out on a walk with his owner Natalie Weston, a veterinary nurse at  St Anne's, when, unbeknown to Natalie, he must have eaten a corn on the cob which had most likely been thrown away by revellers enjoying a late summer barbecue.

The first Natalie knew that her beloved pet may have eaten the corn on the cob was when he was repeatedly sick with little bits of corn showing. 

Natalie realised prompt action was needed and the team at St Anne’s induced Huxley to vomit. However, only a couple of small pieces of corn came up, so Huxley was anaesthetised and a gastroscope discovered the corn on the cob.  

Unfortunately, the corn was too friable to remove and broke up when touched. So, the team at St Anne’s carried out an intricate surgery, including an exploratory laparotomy and one gastrotomy incision to remove the offending food item. 

After staying at St Anne’s under observation for a couple of days, Huxley was allowed home to be cared for by Natalie, who was able to use her own knowledge to ensure he continued to have the best care possible. 

After surgery

Natalie said: “I was shocked there was still corn there nearly three weeks after he must have swallowed it. Huxley’s experience highlights how bad corn on the cobs are to dogs if eaten, and to other wildlife if swallowed, as they just don’t digest at all. 

“I was very worried how much damage it had done to his stomach and intestines. Fortunately, Huxley made a full recovery and was very well cared for and loved by the team at St Anne’s.” 

Meanwhile, Victoria Stafford, a veterinary surgeon at St Anne’s, said: “Out and about, dogs can pick up anything before you know it, including corn on the cob which can cause an obstruction. 

“My advice for dog owners is to be extra careful during walks. If you think they have swallowed something they shouldn’t then it is best to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Quick action is key and could prevent invasive methods. 

“We’d also urge anyone having a barbecue or picnic once the warmer weather arrives to dispose of the cobs appropriately, as well as all other food and packaging.” 

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