A pet owner is pleading for urgent modifications to be made to all paper shredders after her beloved Jack Russell’s tongue was almost amputated.
Liz Beech was shredding documents and had turned her back for a moment when the inquisitive terrier, a cherished family pet, starting sniffing and licking the machine, which quickly set off its cutting mechanism.
Mrs Beech rushed five-year old Pod to her vets, the Prince Bishop Veterinary Hospital in Leadgate near Consett, after she heard him yelp and saw blood rapidly filling his mouth.
Experienced vets at the practice, including principal vet Jacqui Molyneux – one of only 200 practitioners in the UK holding the specialist Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Certificate in Small Animal Surgery – were shocked by the state of poor Pod’s tongue.
Ms Molyneux said: “It certainly looked a huge challenge, as Pod’s tongue was literally in slices. We kept him in overnight after initially sewing the tongue, but the stitches worked loose during the night so I decided to staple the tongue.”
After a further nights stay in the hospital, Pod was released, and while initially finding eating and drinking very difficult, the pet’s condition slowly improved after he had the staples removed nine days later.
Mrs Beech said: “Pod really had a very lucky escape as thankfully we don’t have a cross-cut shredder and Jacqui did a fantastic job in saving his tongue. I initially thought about writing to complain to the manufacturers as after doing some research on the Internet it seems that this sort of thing is quite common.
“I would ask all manufacturers of paper shredders to consider adding a flap to cover the machine’s shredding mechanism, which would need to be lifted by any curious animal or indeed young child, to activate it.”
Ms Molyneux added: “There have been numerous incidents where inquisitive pets have strayed too near to paper shredders and have ended up having to have their tongues or in the case of long-eared dogs like Spaniels, parts of their ears amputated.
“I would urge anyone using a paper shredder to be aware that at present these machines can be very easily activated by the unsuspecting pet, or child; often with devastating consequences.”