Here’s a heartbreaking story: A dog owner is asking the public to demand the recall of a chew toy after it caused an injury to their dog that required amputation of its tongue.
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 whimpering with the ball in his mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove the ball but the tongue 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, for treatment. He was admitted and kept sedated for a period of three days during 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 care instructions, 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.
The owner says they mentioned the injury to friends and were shocked to learn that the same type of injury had happened to their dog. Now the owner is asking for a recall of the chew toy:
it is their position 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.
You can read the rest of the story and check out photos of the injury (Warning: they’re pretty graphic) here.
UPDATE: Someone who contacted the company on Chai the Dog’s behalf posted this email response in the comments:
Thank you for your recent note expressing concern over the Four Paws® Pimple Ball with Bell. We were equally alarmed to learn that a dog may have injured himself while playing with this toy.
Dogs have been enjoying the Pimple Ball with Bell for more than a decade with over 500,000 units sold. In all the years this product has been on the market, this is the first injury of this nature that we are aware of. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen. That’s why we recommend that dogs always be supervised when they are playing with any toy. We take great care in developing safe products for pets and their owners.
At this point we have identified the problem and are not shipping any more Pimple Balls. We have contacted customers that carry this product and have asked them to immediately return their inventory.
Thank you for your concern and feedback. Please know that we are in direct communication with the pet owner whose dog was injured. At Four Paws, happy pets and satisfied pet owners are our number one priority. Rest assured we will continue to work hard to deliver on our priority.
Four Paws Products
Sent by Haley Birk on behalf of Allen Simon