DOG owners are being warned to be on the alert after six pets were treated for painful injuries caused by discarded fish hooks in East Lothian.

Dunedin Vets, Tranent, said it had seen six dogs who suffered injuries to their mouths or noses after picking up the hooks while walking on beaches in the county recently.

In each case the pets escaped with minor injuries but the vet said the dogs had been extremely distressed and were clearly in pain with the 2 inch hooks having to be removed while they were sedated.

Vet Margot Hunter appealed to fishermen not to leave hooks behind and also urged dog owners to be cautious when out walking with pets near the coast.

Dogs brought in with fish hooks piercing their skin included eight-year-old Staffie, Kali, who had a hook with a length of line stuck in her gum while out walking at Torness with owner Drew Barbour, from Dunbar.

Mr Barbour said: “While she was off the lead, I noticed a long length of line trailing from her mouth.

“I cut the line off with a pocket knife, but the fish hook was lodged in her bottom gum. She was really in shock.

“When we returned to Torness two days later for a walk, there was another collection of line and fish hooks, so this is happening all the time and dog walkers need to be careful”

Molly, a five-year-old Cocker Spaniel, owned by Angela Curran, from Tranent, also had to have a fish hook removed from her lip following a walk at Port Seton, East Lothian.

Mrs Hunter said the incidents happened over the summer and were distressing for the pets and their owners.

She said: “Since the end of May, we have treated six dogs who have come in with fish hooks stuck in their nose, lips or gums.

“It’s really unpleasant and painful for the dogs and the solid metal hooks have to be carefully clipped off under sedation.

“We can only assume the dogs are attracted by the fishy smell but then they get these sharp hooks stuck in their skin.”