The Chai Story
On Sunday, June 22, 2008 my 10 year old lab mix, Chai, sustained a severe injury from a product that the company Four Paws Inc, produces. The toy I'm referencing is the pimple ball with bell. ( Item # 20227-001,UPC Code 0 4566320227 9)
While chewing on the toy, a vacuum was created and it effectively sucked his tongue into the hole in the ball. From speaking with my vet, this likely occurred because there is not a second hole in the ball preventing the vacuum effect from happening. I became aware of this when Chai approached a friend at my home whipering with the ball in his mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove the ball but the tougue had swollen and could not be released.
Chai was taken to the Animal Medical Center( an emergency care facility in New York City) and was treated by Dr. Nicole Spurlock to have the ball removed. Because the size of the opening on the ball was so small, all circulation to his tongue was cut off. The doctors had to sedate him in order to remove it. Once the ball was removed, his tongue swelled to the point that he could no longer put it in his mouth. Chai was sent home with care instructions and to be observed overnight for any changes.
By the following morning Chai's tongue had swollen even more.
He was taken to his regular vet, Dr. Timnah Lee, fot treatment. He was admitted and kept sedated for a period of three days durning which time they were treating his wounds and waiting to determine how much of his tongue could be saved. On June 26, 2008 Chai had his tongue amputated.
He was kept in after-care for an additional three days. On Sunday June 29th I brought Chai home from the vet with a barrage of home careinstructions, to last for an additional 7 days. His next visit was to have his mouth re-examined and have the feeding tube in his neck removed.
On the way home from the vet we stopped at Petland Discount where I purchased their product to speak to the manager on duty. Upon meeting Chai and seeing his condition, he removed all of the balls in question from the shelves. He also gave me the customer service number to their corporate headquaters to request that they refuse to continue purchasing all Four Paws products, but I have not called them as of yet.
Additionally, I shared my story with friends who have a French Bulldog named Petunia. Upon hearing my story their eyes widened. They explained that the same thing happened twice in one night with a smaller version of the same ball to the their dog. Fortunately, they were able to pull it off before the tongue swelled, but not without tremendous effort and pain to the dog.
They recalled how horrific it was to hear thier dog screaming while they had to pry the ball from her tongue.
To date, my veterinary bills total over $ 5000.00 and I will have regular follow up appointments for some time. Additionally, Chai now requires a much more expensive form of food because of this injury, averaging approximately $200 per month.
Also - I am Chai's sole caretaker and the regime required to care for him following his surgery has forced me to lose a great deal of business. I am a hair stylist and my salon is in my home. Given that Chai needs constant attention, and given that he has ben wailing in pain, I have not been able to see clients.
Additionally, I now have to re-teach my dog to eat, drink and adjust to life without his tongue. Just walking him requires about 30min twice a day and we only make it three blocks. Feeding him takes me about 90 minutes twice a day and for at least this first week he is not to be unattended for more than 20 minutes at a time.
The following is a link to an animal treatment clinic that has also documented the same injury to a Shepard mix.
I sent this information along with the references to Petunia the french bulldog to Four Paws Inc, and it is their postion that there just aren't enough instances to do anything about this. I told their Insurance company's case manager that was not a good enough excuse, it was inferred that my dogs value wasn't much and that his pain and suffering don't count as he is just a piece of property.