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Springer spaniel swallows golf ball

Karen Forster with her English Springer Spaniel Maxy who had to have an operation after eating a golf ball, performed by Graham Lewis at Paragon Vets, Townhead Road, Dalston. (Photo Jenny Woolgar Photography)

A Penrith couple have thanked the vets who performed life-saving surgery on their spaniel after he swallowed a golf ball.

Small animal vet Graham Lewis from the award-winning Paragon Veterinary Group carried out the tricky operation to remove the ball which was stuck in the dog’s small intestine.

“I was absolutely terrified when Maxy went in for the surgery,” said his owner, retired police officer David Forster.  “We thought it was touch and go.”

Maxy the six-year-old springer spaniel had become increasingly ill over three months.

David said: “Then he went completely off his food and was continually trying to make himself sick and bringing up fluid. He went down hill very quickly at the end.

“He wouldn’t even take a drink of water. He was in dire straits.”

David and his wife Karen rushed Maxy to Paragon’s Newbiggin surgery near Penrith where he was assessed by vet Sam Harding and sent immediately to the group’s state of the art veterinary hospital at Dalston.

Graham said: “We were concerned that he might have something stuck and an x ray showed the golf ball.

“We took him into surgery pretty much straight away.”

The team at Paragon performed the delicate operation to remove the ball which was lodged near the dog’s pancreas.

“It was quite a stressful procedure,” said Graham. ‘The pancreas is an important and delicate organ, and an operation in that area has to be handled with great care.

“The golf ball had moved from the stomach and then got into the intestine where it was pretty well lodged.”

The operation was a success and Maxy was able to go home the next day.

Abdominal Right lateral xray – golf ball

Once the x ray revealed the culprit, David remembered that Maxy had picked up a golf ball three months earlier while on a walk in Flusco Wood, near their home.

“He picked up his tennis ball and I saw he also had a golf ball in his mouth, and then I didn’t see the golf ball again. I gave it half a thought and then dismissed it,” says David.

After the operation Maxy, who has completed all the Wainwrights with his owners, made a swift recovery.

“He’s back to his normal self, bouncing all over the place and chasing birds and the usual springer spaniel stuff.

“We can’t thank Paragon and Graham enough, they were brilliant.  The after-care service was amazing. Graham phoned us several times.”

Graham said: “We can perform surgery if there is a blockage but it has a fair degree of risk, especially if it is in a complicated place.

“Foreign bodies in intestines of dogs are a fairly common thing, unfortunately. We have seen and removed some interesting things over the years. As far as actual golf balls being removed, it is pretty rare but not completely unheard of.”

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