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Dog tongue swells to ‘monster’ size

Published by Waleed Fakhroo on December 30, 2009


A pet dog nearly died after suffering a freak accident that caused her tongue to swell to four times its normal size. 

Penny almost suffocated when her tongue ballooned as she tucked into her favourite treat of pig’s heart.

Membrane from the pig’s aorta wound itself around the base of her tongue, cutting off the blood supply which caused it to swell to “monster” proportions. The lack of blood also meant that parts of the tongue died off and could have led to a fatal infection.

Her situation worsened when she desperately tried to paw her tongue free, causing blood to gush from her mouth.

Her horrified owner, Linda Donnelly, from Paisley, said her pet’s tongue was left looking like an enormous piece of steak hanging from her mouth and she rushed the animal to the PDSA’s PedAid Hospital in Glasgow for life-saving treatment.

Initially vets thought she was suffering from a tumour which had suddenly increased in size and warned Ms Donnelly that her pet was unlikely to pull through.

Vet Dermot Mullen said the shock of the ordeal alone could have killed the 18-year-old pet.

But while Penny was under anaesthetic, Mr Mullen spotted the aorta and managed to cut it free.

“It was very hard to see down her throat because of the size of her inflated tongue but once I saw the fibrous ligature, the cause of Penny’s problem was clear.”

Ms Donnelly said she was “absolutely devastated” when her dog started to choke. “It all happened so quickly,” she said. “One minute Penny was okay, the next she was stood in front of me with what can only be described as a monster-sized tongue hanging from her mouth with blood pouring out everywhere. Pigs’ hearts are now completely off the menu.”

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