Warning after puppy swallows ball
A vet charity has urged dog owners to stop their pets playing with tennis balls after a puppy swallowed one whole.
Zeus, an 11-month old Dogue de Bordeaux, was running along a beach when he spotted another dog playing with a tennis ball and grabbed it, then gulped it down in one.
His owner, Richard Waugh, 53, said he "couldn't believe it" when Zeus swallowed the ball.
A few days later he was sick and went off his food, so Mr Waugh took Zeus to the Gateshead PDSA Pet Hospital where vets performed emergency surgery.
Senior vet Catriona Atkinson said: "A large blockage of this nature creates a life-or-death situation - without surgery, it is highly likely that Zeus would have died. As with all major operations, there are risks, but it was the only option."
The ball was removed intact, and Zeus recovered quickly.
Mr Waugh said: "Zeus is a big softie and loves meeting other dogs while out on walks. He's got a cheeky side, as he does love to play with a ball - even if it's not his. I couldn't believe it when he swallowed the ball.
"Now he's a bit older, he has stopped picking up items, but we make sure we watch him really closely. He's a brilliant dog and we'd be lost without him - I'm so grateful to PDSA for saving his life."
PDSA has urged pet owners to think twice about letting their dogs play with tennis balls, as every year it treats cases involving them - ranging from broken teeth and eye injuries to intestinal blockages
The charity, founded in 1917, performs more than 2.3 million treatments and operations for free every year.