Your dog may love the hoof parings discarded when your horse is shod – but vets are warning that large chunks could be potentially fatal.
Owners are warned to clean up quickly after the farrier visits – before their dog does.
Fourteen-year-old Mutley (pictured) had more than a foot of small intestine removed last month after swallowing four nails along with a substantial amount of hoof.
Mutley’s owner – cross-country course-designer Douglas Weymouth – called the vet as Mutley was vomiting and wouldn’t touch his food the day after the farrier had visited.
Ann Noble from the Paragon Veterinary Group in Cumbria carried out emergency surgery.
“Mutley really wasn’t very well,” she told H&H.
“He had a serious impaction in his gut where we found a large piece of hoof and four nails wedged.”
Ms Noble said Mutley was lucky and is now “fighting fit”.
Mr Weymouth added: “Mutley has always been quite a tough sort, being a cross of ridgeback and collie, and this helped him get back to full strength.”
Ms Noble said the case was a first for her.
“We’re aware dogs do eat bits of hoof and there’s the danger they’ll hoover up larger pieces and even nails.
“I’d advise to keep the dogs away when a farrier is around, just in case. It could be nasty.”
Mr Weymouth’s wife Lucinda told H&H she’ll be keeping a careful when her horses are being shod in future.
“I’d absolutely warn other owners to at least check what their dogs are snuffling up. It would have been very painful and was very touch and go, we caught it just in time.”
H&H veterinary adviser Karen Coumbe also issued a warning.
“I haven’t seen a case like this before, but on several occasions have had horses that have trodden on discarded nails – as well as many burst tyres,” she said.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (12 January 2012)