Nottingham

Specialist high chair gives starving labrador hope

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Media captionPoorly Labrador Buck eats meals from high chair

A dog who cannot eat due to a rare disorder has been given hope by a specialist chair built by volunteers.

Buck, a 17-month-old labrador, is half the average size and weight for his age due to megaoesophagus, which means he struggles to swallow food.

A specialist support, known as a Bailey chair, was not available until next year - too late for poor Buck.

But after a Nottinghamshire charity appealed for help, a vet and a designer built a bespoke chair within days.

Image caption Vets were surprised Buck had survived for so long with the condition

Buck weighed only 17kg (37.4lbs) when he was taken in by Mansfield-based charity, Team Edward - Labrador Rescue.

Founder Wendy Hopewell said: "We were really shocked. The previous owner said they were really struggling to feed him but when I saw him I thought 'wow, I've never seen a labrador that thin before'.

"We often get them overweight but I found his condition really heart-breaking."

Image caption Emma Drinkall and Nick Rowan said their combined experience meant they had to help

Bailey chairs work by holding a dog upright, allowing gravity to help food move into the stomach.

When Ms Hopewell discovered none were available for more than a month, she took to social media for help.

Emma Drinkall, from Nottingham's Vet School, and partner Nick Rowan, a senior lecturer at De Montfort University in product design and engineering, stepped forward.

Mr Rowan said: "I've experience in disability design but have never worked with animals.

"When we were cutting the wood I had to double check the measurements we were given because I couldn't believe he could be that thin.

"I'm thrilled we could help and thrilled it fits so well and he seems so chilled in it."

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