A DOG playing fetch landed its owners with an £8,500 bill after getting speared in the gut with a stick.
The branch penetrated Reno through fur and muscle and into his abdomen, slicing open his intestines.
It was only emergency surgery at one of Scotland’s top veterinary schools that saved the life of the five-year-old whippet.
The incident has emerged just a few days after the country’s top vet warned of the dangers of playing fetch with pooches. Grace Webster spoke out after a collie needed surgery to remove a four-inch stick from its throat.
Reno the whippet has now made a full recovery since his horror accident playing fetch last April but owners Tracey and Charles Fullerton were handed a hefty bill.
Thankfully, the couple from Falkirk had paid to have £7,000-worth of insurance cover but the incident still left them £1,500 out of pocket and their premiums are likely to rocket.
Tracey, 43, said: “We don’t generally let our dogs play with sticks but he’d got hold of one.
“It was a big stick, maybe a foot long. It wasn’t one that could go down his throat.
“He ran around the corner after a jogger. I heard the jogger say “I didn’t hurt him” and then he ran off.
“Then we heard the dog screaming. We could not figure out what happened. We went back and the stick was sticking up out of the ground.
“We think the heel of the jogger flicked it up into the air and Reno had leapt on top of the stick and pushed it into the ground.
“When we looked there was a tiny hole in his groin. We looked and we thought he was OK.”
Tracey, who works as a community engagement officer for the NHS, took Reno and the couple’s other dog Holly, home.
But Reno went into shock and started peeing blood. Four days later, close to death, he had emergency surgery for a suspected perforated intestine at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, part of Edinburgh University.
“They cut him open and found out a piece of intestine was damaged,” said Tracey. “They told us it was 50/50. But they were so fantastic. They saved him.”
Reno spent seven days in intensive care.
Tracey said: “He was on three or four different kinds of drip. They had one in a hole in his throat.
“So between that and the vet bills we had paid already it was quite expensive – £8,500.
“But he’s our wee boy. You would do anything. I paid it on my credit card and luckily we had insurance. “
Tracey and Charles are now advising other dog owners to follow the advice not to throw sticks.
Grace Webster, the president of the British Veterinary Association in Scotland, warned of the dangers after Maya the collie punctured her tongue so badly that it displaced her larynx.
A four-inch stick had got wedged in the collie’s throat.
Tracey said: “Some dogs are obsessed with sticks. And they are free toys. But it’s not worth the risk.
“I would do anything for it to be stopped from happening to someone else’s dog.”