A DOG had to have a life-saving operation after swallowing a fishing hook embedded in a mackerel on a West Dorset beach.
Now, the owner of the dog has called for fishermen to take more care in where they leave their gear and catches in areas populated by dog walkers.
Nikki Jones, from Melbury Osmond, was walking her dog, a five-year-old black labrador called Minnie, along Hive Beach in Burton Bradstock when the pet spotted a mackerel next to one of the fisherman and began to eat it.
Mrs Jones said: “Minnie was slightly ahead of us and there were some fishermen about and she was sniffing around them and suddenly one of the fisherman jumped up.
“I rushed over and it was clear she was eating something really quickly.
“He was shouting that there was still a hook in it and that there was another hook on the end of the line, but the fishermen managed to cut that off before Minnie ate it.
“Minnie was absolutely fine after, if the fishermen hadn’t told me there was a hook in it we wouldn’t have known.”
Following the incident, Mrs Jones was advised to see if the hook would pass through naturally, and if it didn’t to take her to the vets.
She took Minnie to Bredy Veterinary Centre when an x-ray clearly showed the hook.
The dog was operated on later that day Mrs Jones added: “There are always fishermen on the beach and it would have been good if they could have put the mackerel that they caught into a box so the dogs can’t get to it.
“It is so tasty you can’t blame the dog for going for it and you also can’t keep a dog on the lead at all times when you are on the beach.
“The whole incident had a huge impact on us. The operation cost nearly £800 and having that amount of money going out unexpectedly added to the worry of it all, and also the discomfort to the dog.
“The fishermen were very nice but in future I hope they don’t leave stuff like that around.”
Vet Matthew Field said: “If a dog swallows a hook like this, it can be life threatening.
“The hooks can get stuck between the mouth and the stomach and serious damage can be done if they perforate the stomach or intestines, and from these life threatening infections take hold.
“It’s quite an emergency – it is major surgery. Any operation involving the stomach can get an infection, and dogs have died from it. Luckily, the dog is absolutely fine now.”