Pet owners are being warned about the serious dangers Woolworths Ooshies could pose to your furry companions.
MalagaVet, in Perth’s north, posted the warning to Facebook when one of its patients was rushed in for major surgery after swallowing two of the plastic collectables.
“One of our patients underwent major surgery today for an intestinal obstruction caused by swallowing two of these novelty toys,” the vet hospital wrote.
“She’s recovering well, but both the team at Malaga and her owner want to spread the word to avoid another pet suffering the same problem.”
In a photo alongside the post, an X-ray shows a gas build-up in the animal’s bowel.
Earlier this month, the Boyne Tannum Vet Surgery in Queensland issued a similar warning, posting pictures of Ooshies that had been surgically removed after they caused a gastrointestinal obstruction.
“Please be very careful leaving these laying around,” the surgery warned.
Dr Leigh Davidson, director of Yourvetonline.com, told Yahoo News Australia these types of toys were not suitable for young children and therefore were also not appropriate for your pet to play with.
“Basically we’ve got to think of our pets like children,” she said.
Dr Davidson said throwing the plastic toys to pets for them to catch could cause them to become lodged in the trachea or oesophagus.
“When the pet swallows these, depending on the size of your animal and its intestine, if they haven’t chewed it up into small enough pieces it may cause a blockage in the intestinal track,” she explained.
“If that happens, you have to go in and remove it.”
Dr Davidson said it was a serious surgery that could cost upwards of $1200.
“It’s dangerous because you’re opening a body cavity that’s a dirty environment and exposing bacteria to all of the abdomen,” she said.
“The risk of subsequent infection is really high and it’s a demanding surgery that takes a lot of skill.
“Prevention is better than cure if you do have these toys.”
Signs your pet could be suffering
Dr Davidson said the sooner pet owners notice the signs, the better it is.
Some pets suffering from an intestinal obstruction may become lethargic and lose their appetites while others may show signs of vomiting.
Dogs and puppies will often go through stages of appearing normal before suddenly vomiting and then again returning to ‘normal’.
Cats however are a different story. Dr Davidson warns some may retreat to quiet areas, hide and become less active.
She said a cat won’t necessarily vomit like a dog.
Tips to avoid the dangers
Dr Davidson says it’s important people keep the small plastic toys out of reach of pets.
“We have got to remember you can tell your child, ‘don’t chew’, but we need to consider our pets like a young crawling child, you can’t just tell a pet to leave it alone,” she said.
“Keep them in your children’s room and make sure the area you have them is off limits to cats and dogs.”
MalagaVet suggested pet owners avoid collecting the plastic items.
“Best thing to do, don’t accept them at the checkout, and if you are given them be very careful to keep them away from your pets at all times,” it said on Facebook.
A Woolworths spokesperson reiterated the message, saying like any small toy, it advised keeping Ooshies out of reach of pets.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.