Essex

Vets save kebab stick-eating dog on diet

Sweep Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption Border collie Sweep, two, was left with life-threatening internal injuries

A dog was left fighting for its life after swallowing a wooden kebab stick.

Border collie Sweep, aged two, from Harlow, Essex, was rushed to vets at Dick White Referrals in Cambridgeshire in "extreme respiratory distress".

The 15cm (6in) stick had gone through his stomach and damaged a lung, and it took vets almost six hours to save him.

It is not known what happened to whatever was on the kebab stick, but his owners said Sweep had been on a diet and "may have been scavenging".

Vets carried out two scans before finding the cause of Sweep's distress - the wooden stick which, still whole, had gone through his stomach.

Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption The kebab stick can be seen at the top right hand side of the image

Immediate surgery was needed as the kebab stick was deemed "life-threatening" to the dog.

Two surgeons operated on Sweep when he was rushed in at the end of February - but the sharp stick had caused so much damage, his lungs began to leak and the lack of oxygen could have left the dog brain-damaged.

The dog's temperature had to be dropped using ice packs to protect his brain from the lack of air.

Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption The row of yellow arrows (right) show the stick and an abscess caused when it pushed into Sweep's lung.

The operation began at 14:45 and took until 21:00 GMT to complete.

This was followed by a period in intensive care, initially attended to by two veterinary nurses.

Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption Meat-eating Sweep had a 'ruff' ride during his ordeal, but is recovering well

As Sweep recovered, staff realised he had gone blind, which a spokeswoman from the surgery said was "caused by the brain cortex being starved of oxygen".

However, two days later, the dog's sight returned.

After five further days of care, Sweep began to eat normally.

He has since returned home to his family and vets say he is expected to return to "full health".

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