By Mollie Mansfield
An adorable golden retriever puppy has been diagnosed with rare eating disorder Pica which left him with a stomach full of gravel, metal poles, clothes and even a leather sofa.
Roman, the seven-month-old puppy, was diagnosed with Pica at the beginning of the month, 5 February, after his owners disregarded his eating habits for him ‘being a puppy’.
Hilary Howarth, 26, started noticing her dog, who she labelled the ‘power chewer’, was eating concrete slabs, rocks, his plush toys and chunks of the neighbour’s garden.
And once ultra-sounds showed that his stomach was full of gravel, he was diagnosed with the rare eating disorder.
Now, Hilary has to constantly keep him on a leash to make sure he doesn’t eat everything in his sight.
Hilary, from Rhode Island, United States, said: “At first we thought he was just being a dog, as puppies are known for chewing everything in sight.
“But then every time we would go for walks, he would bring a big lump of mud home to try to eat, and he couldn’t have toys for more than a couple of minutes.
“That’s when we knew something had to be done, and we took him to the vets.
“We’ve caught him eating a tyre, trying to eat a high-vis vest, biting through bones and eating his bed. Alongside trying to eat a metal pole in our bathroom, my grandma’s sofa and slabs of concrete.
“Last month he was impossible to walk – he would almost pull you over trying to grab something to eat.
“So we decided to go to the vets to get him checked over and that’s when they found his stomach full of gravel and diagnosed him with Pica.
“Now he has to have blood transfusions around once a week, and we have to keep an extra close eye on him at all times.”
After Roman was diagnosed with the eating disorder, Hilary was also told that he had a life-threatening autoimmune disease, Pure Red Cell Aplasia, just one week later.
This means that he has a low red blood cell count and that he now has to have weekly blood transfusions, costing over £700 per-time.
She added: “His autoimmune disease combined with his Pica caused him to start being sick, not eating his dog food and only going for inedible objects.
“It’s not something that’s hereditary, it usually only occurs in older dogs – but it’s just bad luck.
“We now have to take him to the emergency hospital every week for him to have a blood transfusion, which costs us a lot of money.
“So now we’re fundraising to help us fund his treatment, as we can’t bear to lose our little puppy.”
Hilary, and her partner Brett Thomas, are now raising money to fund Roman’s vet bills here: https://www.gofundme.com/red-for-roman