(PETS) An amazing story showing us how much we still need to learn about the emotional life of animals. Cassie the dalmatian loved to chew on her blanket. But when one of her guardians died, she began eating it to cope with the pain of separation. Pet grief can manifest in different ways. Here’s what to watch for. – Global Animal
The Argus, Ruth Lumley
A grief-stricken dog became seriously ill after she ate her own blanket.
Seven-year-old dalmatian Cassie astounded vets at Brighton PDSA PetAid Hospital when they rushed her into surgery to remove a suspicious object in her stomach, only to find the blanket inside her.
Cassie’s owner Frances York, from Brighton, noticed her pet’s behaviour changing after her husband died last August.
She said: “Cassie always used to chew on her blanket occasionally, especially if she was left alone. But I noticed this became much worse after my husband died and I was told this could be a sign of grief or stress. I never imagined she was actually eating the blanket in bits or that so much of it was building up inside her.”
Rebecca Thring, senior veterinary surgeon at Brighton PDSA, in Robertson Road, said: “Diagnosing what is wrong with a pet can sometimes be very difficult as they obviously can’t tell you what is wrong with them.”
Cassie had lost weight and had been suffering random bouts of sickness for several months.
Then her owner mentioned Cassie’s habit of chewing on her blanket and this, together with her symptoms, suggested she may have accidentally swallowed some of it.”
An ultrasound indicated there was something in Cassie’s stomach and the veterinary team rushed Cassie into surgery to remove the blockage.
After several days in PDSA’s recovery ward Cassie was able to go home.
Mrs York, who suffered from a stroke 18 years ago, said: “It took a while for Cassie to fully recover and put her weight back on but she’s now back to her old self.
“Cassie’s illness has been a lot of extra stress during what has been a difficult time for me but she’s completely worth it – I couldn’t ask for a more loving companion.”
Ms Thring said Cassie’s problem developed from a type of separation anxiety, where pets that are left alone display odd or obsessive behaviour, which had been exacerbated by her grief.
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