Page last updated at 10:17 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 11:17 UK

Dog swallows two foot long stick

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Hector's owners said it was lucky the stick did no internal damage

A dog has survived after an operation to remove a two-foot long stick it had swallowed.

Hector, an 11-stone great dane, gulped down the branch as he played in his owner's garden in Hertfordshire.

Vets spotted the 63cm stick, which stretched over two-thirds of the dog's body, when they gave him an x-ray.

Owners Gerrard and Pam Panting, of Wheathampstead, took the dog to the surgery after he began drooling and looking unwell.

Mr Panting said: "It all started on Friday night. He came in from the garden and he was just not himself, he was drooling and we thought that he had eaten something. The next day he was exactly the same.

"When we took him to the vet we were shocked."

'Gulped it down'

Mrs Panting said: "It was so long that they couldn't get the full stick on the x-ray and he had to be transferred after anaesthetic to the Royal Veterinary College."

The couple said they do not know how Hector came to swallow the stick but think he must have been playing with it in the garden.

"Because he had had not actually damaged himself too much, he probably had gulped it down rather than running around and it jammed down as he hit something," Mr Panting said.

"Talking to the vets afterwards, they said there are a lot of sticks around that are much, much shorter that actually kill dogs if they perforate the gullet or the stomach but we were very lucky."




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