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Vets save dog Leo’s life after swallowing a stone reading-time-icon 2 min read

A Cambridgeshire family feared losing their beloved springer spaniel when it became gravely ill after eating a stone. The hungry dog wolfed it down at the family home and needed an emergency operation at Isle Vet Group in Ely.

Mum-of-two Amanda Scott had seen two other family dogs die after eating stones and was worried 18-month-old Leo may suffer the same fate. She dreaded the impact on three-year-old son Sebastian who dotes on Leo.  

Thanks to the skills of the veterinary surgeons at the practice, part of My Family Vets, Leo is now home and well. 

Introducing Leo, the hungry Springer Spaniel

“Leo is one of three dogs we have,” said Amanda. “We have an older spaniel called Oscar and a Labrador, Willow. Leo is the one who will eat absolutely anything, leaves, sticks, bedding just whatever he can get in his mouth. 

“We have the dogs kennelled outside, with large pebbles outside for drainage. 

“Without us noticing, he dug down and got to smaller stones underneath. We didn’t know he had eaten one. 

“He’d been sick the next morning, but he was still eating and drinking a bit over the weekend. By the Sunday night, though, he was just off and not himself, so I knew I needed to get the vet and called first thing the next morning.”

Skilled Veterinary Surgeons at Isle Vet Group

Amanda took Leo into Isle Vets where X-rays, scans and examinations showed there was a serious problem.

The stone had lodged in the small intestine and the blockage was such that there was no way it would have been able to pass naturally. Without an urgent operation, the much-loved pet faced the prospect of having to be put down. 

“Other than the obstruction, Leo was a very healthy young dog, so we wanted to give him every chance,” said vet Alastair Barnes.

“Time was of the essence, so we operated straight away and did what’s called laparotomy where we were able to remove the stone.”

Even with the operation underway, Amanda knew Leo wasn’t out of the woods.

“We had lost our first spaniel to a bleed on the brain after an operation for the same thing 10 years ago,” said Amanda.

“And my brother had a dog from the same litter that also swallowed a stone and died. So, it was such a relief when we got the call to say it had all gone well.

“Sebastian came with me to pick him up and I wasn’t allowed to touch Leo, he insisted on walking him out. He was so proud and happy.

“It meant everything, and I can’t thank the vets enough for all they did. 

“Now we’re watching Leo every moment to see he doesn’t eat anything else.”

What should I do if my dog swallows a stone?

If your dog accidentally ingests a stone or similar object, take them to your local vets as soon as possible.

Like Leo, your dog can then be examined properly to find out what the best course of action will be.

It’s likely that the stone will either be vomited out, pass through their system or become an obstruction, but a vet will be able to give you the best advice on what to do next for your dog.

You might not have witnessed them eating the stone or similar object, but your pet will often start displaying uncharacteristic behaviours. These can include becoming distressed, vomiting or even becoming lethargic. If your dog displays any of these, or similar behaviours, take them into your local veterinary practice as soon as you can. You can find your local vets using our Vet Finder here.