Dog recovers after eating football
A dog owner has told how his pet bounced back to health after swallowing a football.
Bracken the labrador ended up with the deflated ball stuck next to his heart after munching it while out of sight of his owner John Grant and would have died without surgery.
Mr Grant realised the two-year-old dog needed medical attention when he started coughing incessantly.
When Bracken was X-rayed at the University of Glasgow Small Animal Hospital, vets noticed an unexpected dark shape near the labrador's heart. Further tests revealed a congenital abnormality - a hole in the diaphragm between the dog's chest and abdomen which meant part of his stomach could move into the space.
When surgical specialist Kathryn Pratschke operated, assisted by vet Damian Chase, they were stunned to discover that the foreign object was a deflated toy football about 12cm (5 inches) long.
Mr Chase said: "Part of the stomach moved and was sitting next to his heart with the football in it. We were surprised because when we did the X-ray and scan we couldn't tell what it was. He is a very lucky dog. He would have died without the operation."
Mr Chase said the abnormality, called peritoneo-pericardial diaphragmatic hernia, can have catastrophic consequences, though many dogs with the same problem lead normal lives with the flaw going unnoticed.
Bracken needed two operations to correct the problem, one last spring and one in January, building up medical costs of around £5,000 over the year. He is now living life to the full at the Grant home in Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, though where he found the football remains a mystery.