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Champ Under Par

Dog's close call after swallowing golf balls
Champ the German Pointer needed emergency surgery after swallowing three golf balls, pictured in the X-ray on the right, while out walking

A dog lover whose pet needed emergency surgery after swallowing three golf balls has praised the veterinary staff who saved his life.

Helen Burn from Newcastle had no idea her German Pointer Champ had eaten the balls, which were hidden in long grass in a park where they'd been walking. But hours later, the five-year-old was being violently sick and needed urgent treatment when it was discovered he had three golf balls in his stomach and intestines, causing a blockage.

Champ's life was saved thanks to quick-thinking vets at the local PDSA hospital - which is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

Helen said, "I don't know what I would have done without PDSA's help."

Recalling what happened to her beloved pet, Helen explained, "I had no idea what he had been up to when we were out on our walk. At first when we came home, he was his normal self. But then he started vomiting and it got worse, to the point where he was being sick multiple times."

A worried Helen rang her local PDSA hospital who told her to bring Champ in immediately. By this point, Champ was suffering from severe dehydration and vets had to act fast.

"I was so worried about him after seeing him go downhill so quickly," said Helen. "I didn't think he would survive if he needed an operation."

PDSA Veterinary Surgeon Emily Turnbull examined Champ when he arrived at the hospital.

"He was extremely dehydrated and still vomiting when we saw him, so we had to give him fluids before anything else," said Emily.

After a general anaesthetic, an X-ray revealed the blockage and cause of poor Champ's discomfort.

Emily said, "We suspected that the golf balls were moving freely in the stomach, and that's why Champ was only being sick occasionally at first - but then they got stuck moving into the intestines and that's when he became unwell."

The PDSA team immediately performed a high-risk operation to remove the golf balls to give Champ the best chance of survival. Thankfully, the delicate surgery was a success and Champ went on to make a full recovery.

"Gut blockages are extremely dangerous, even life-threatening at times, and often very painful," said Emily. "Helen did the right thing by getting him checked over."

Low-Cost Care For Pets

For more than 100 years, PDSA has provided free or low-cost care for pets of people struggling with financial hardship.

Champ is just one of the 400,000 pets treated by the veterinary charity each year, with the £79 Million annual cost of treatment met entirely by public donations. People's Postcode Lottery players have to date raised a massive £16.7 million for this vital work.

Helen was able to take Champ home the day after his operation.

"It only took a couple of weeks for him to return to his normal, mischievous self," said Helen.

"We ensured he had lots of rest, gave him puppy food to get his weight back, and had plenty of gentle cuddles whilst he was recovering. We are very aware there might be more golf balls in the field where we walk him, so we're extra careful now that he doesn't get his paws - or mouth - on any more!

"PDSA were fantastic. We are so lucky to have received their help at such a worrying time and I know I'm not the only person who wouldn't have their dog today if it wasn't for PDSA."

Making A Difference

People's Postcode Lottery players are helping deserving causes like PDSA make a difference every single day. Read more about the range of Charities that our players support.

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Published: 30/01/2024

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