A greedy West Highland Terrier, Sam, bit off more than he could chew after pinching a lamb shank bone when his owner’s back was turned.
Sam needed a life-saving operation at Eastfield Veterinary Clinic in North Thoresby to remove part of the bone after it became stuck in his oesophagus.
His owner Christine Grest, from Cleethorpes, had just cleared the scraps into a rubbish bag after cooking a traditional Easter Sunday lamb dinner for her family and went to load the dishwasher.
As she was momentarily distracted, Sam seized his chance and stole the bone, before running off into the garden and refusing to give up his unexpected treat.
Later that day, the 11-year-old family pet was sick and became breathless when he was taken for his daily walk, so Christine and husband Philip took him to the vet.
Eastfield Veterinary Clinic clinical director Mike Jeffreson X-rayed the poorly pooch and discovered a blockage caused by a two-inch piece of bone, which required immediate surgery.
During a delicate and painstaking three-hour operation, Mike used forceps to chip away at the bone to reduce it in size so it could be removed from his gullet.
As his oesophagus was badly damaged, there was a danger it could perforate and he could have died.
Sam spent a week in the veterinary hospital and had to be fed through a tube directly into his stomach following the operation.
He has now recovered from his ordeal and is back home in Cleethorpes with his relieved family, who adopted him from Ark Animal Rescue in North Somercotes when he was four.
Eastfield Veterinary Clinic is now warning dog owners about the danger of their pets eating bones.
Mike Jeffreson said: “Although this was an accident and Sam pinched the bone, our advice is not to give dogs cooked bones because it can have disastrous consequences.
“A solid lump of bone was stuck in Sam’s gullet, just above the heart. When he came in, he was coughing and choking and unable to swallow.
“His oesophagus was ulcerated and damaged and it could have perforated if we fed him, so he had to have a tube into his stomach for five days. If the oesophagus is badly damaged, dogs can die.”
Christine Grest said: “Sam isn’t allowed to have bones and we are normally very cautious about what he eats.
“I’d put the lamb shank bone in a plastic carrier bag on the kitchen floor intending to put it in the rubbish bin, but I got side-tracked and he couldn’t resist temptation.
“I then saw him race off into the garden with a bone sticking out of the side of his mouth – and we ended up having a fight to get it off him.
“Later that day, he was sick when I gave him his dinner and he was very lethargic when we went for a walk. The next day I gave him Weetabix and water and he brought it straight back up.
“After going to the vets and being told he had a piece of bone stuck, we didn’t think he would survive because of his age.”
Christine praised the vet who saved her pet’s life and urged owners to be extra cautious about disposing of bones.
She added: “We were so pleased with the service we had from Eastfield Vets as they were so attentive and Sam received such good care. We feared the worst and we were very anxious. He’s an absolute gem, but fortunately they were able to save him.
“Last year, I dithered about taking out insurance, but I’m very glad I did.”