'Fish hook' Harvey spared serious damage after beach drama

Picture of owner cuddling pet dog Harvey

Alison and Harvey - Credit: Newsline

Expert vets have managed to prevent a dog suffering serious damage after it swallowed a carelessly discarded fish hook.

For Alison Benney and her 12-year-old Golden Retriever Harvey what was meant to be a fun day by the sea at Goodrington turned into a horror outing. 

Luckily, vets at Linnaeus-owned Cave Veterinary Specialists, in West Buckland, Somerset, managed to extract the hook from Harvey’s oesophagus without needing to operate. 

X-ray picture of fish hook inside dog

An X-ray showing the hook inside Harvey - Credit: Newsline

Alison said the incident had left her extremely upset.

She said: “It was a very upsetting experience for me and especially for Harvey. We were walking down the cliff walk onto the promenade when Harvey suddenly started rummaging in a discarded carrier bag and the next thing he was gagging and clearly distressed. 

“I could see he had some fishing line hanging out of his mouth and realised he must have swallowed some baited fishing hooks that had been thrown away. 

“I tried to gently pull on the line to get it out but the hook must have been caught in the flesh down his throat and it wouldn’t come out. 

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“That’s when I decided to take him straight to our local vets, Dartvale in Totnes, who after assessment and X-rays realised the hook was lodged in Harvey’s chest, immediately referred us to Cave.” 

She added: “Goodrington promenade is a very popular spot where people fish into the sea but anglers should realise just how dangerous fish hooks and fishing line can be. "

Fish hook swallowed by dog

Better out than in! - Credit: Newsline

She praised a ‘lovely couple’ with a black French bulldog who tried to help – the man even offered to carry Harvey back to the car. “I thought ‘bless him’ but at 34 kilos and up the cliff walk I said thanks but that it was not practical. Harvey did manage to walk up himself, ” said Alison. 

Harvey’s problem was dealt with by surgeon Nele Van Den Steen at Cave, who said: “Radiographs confirmed the hook was lodged in his oesophagus but we hoped that using an endoscope would help us remove it without the need for surgery. It proved more difficult than we thought but ultimately we were successful. Harvey was allowed home the next day and has made a full recovery.” 

A relieved Alison added: “I’m very grateful to Dartvale and Cave for all their help and care. I am very thankful that Harvey is covered by pet insurance as the total bill was nearly £3,000 - a salutary warning to other dog owners.”