Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Pet owners warned of tinsel danger

Kitten Broxi with PDSA vet Susie Hermit (Nick McGowan-Lowe/PDSA/PA)
Kitten Broxi with PDSA vet Susie Hermit (Nick McGowan-Lowe/PDSA/PA)

A veterinary charity has issued a warning to pet owners as two cats needed life-saving treatment after they ate tinsel.

Two-year-old Ginge swallowed up to three feet of the decoration from a Christmas tree and required surgery at a PDSA hospital. Nine-month-old kitten Broxi devoured red, white and blue tinsel and needed emergency treatment.

Vets acted quickly in both cases to remove the tinsel which can rupture internal organs, leading to potentially fatal infections.

The PDSA has advised pet owners to think of their animals as they would a toddler and remove any potential dangers.

Ginge's owner Joanne MacLeod, of Brown Edge, Staffordshire, rushed her pet to the animal hospital after he started vomiting and became lethargic.

"Ginge is a curious cat and likes shiny things. He had been chewing away at the silver thread on my scarf and also around the tinsel on the Christmas tree. When he started being sick and his behaviour changed, I knew something was wrong," she said.

Jenny Powell, veterinary surgeon at PDSA Stoke-on-Trent PetAid hospital, suspected the problem could be tinsel. She said: "Ginge had a bit of tinsel just visible at the base of his tongue, indicating that he might have swallowed some of it. We decided we needed to operate to find out if this was the case. We found Ginge had tinsel running from his tongue through to parts of his intestines.

"In total, Ginge had swallowed two to three feet of tinsel. We managed to remove a third of the tinsel by operating on Ginge's intestines, and the rest we delicately removed through his mouth. He recovered very well and is now back to his old self."

Broxi, a black and white short-haired kitten, also needed emergency surgery. Colin Lightbody and his wife Jacqueline told vets in Glasgow that their cat was sick after playing near tinsel.

PDSA veterinary surgeon Susie Hermit said: "The cat had pain in the front part of the abdomen and we could feel something thicker in this area. X-rays confirmed our suspicion that it could be tinsel and we carried out an emergency operation. Many owners do not realise the dangers of tinsel if their pet swallows it, so she's had a very lucky escape."

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