A DOG was millimetres away from death after a sewing needle became lodged in its spinal cord in a freak accident.
Boxer dog Bella baffled vets in Chichester who couldn’t understand why she was not her normal bouncy self, but it soon became clear when a CAT scan was done.
The two-year-old had eaten a sewing needle, thread and all, which had pierced the back of her mouth and got stuck at the top of her spinal cord.
Miraculously she was still walking around for a week with the needle in place. Even luckier is the fact it stopped its journey just 5mm away from her brain.
Her owner Alison Pople could not believe what she was being told by the vets after the results of Bella’s scan came through.
“I was completely horrified to hear that was what it was, and that she had been walking about,” she said.
“It was quite traumatic, and awful for her, the fact it travelled the way it did in her mouth is quite a freak accident.”
It has since come to light that Mrs Pople’s mother, who lives with her family in Salthill Road, Fishbourne, had lost a sewing needle.
“My mother lives with us and does a lot of sewing and she has told me it’s obviously come from her, she felt terrible about it,” Mrs Pople said.
Vets in Chichester initially struggled to find out what was wrong, and Bella was due to be checked over under anaesthetic on Thursday when they realised the problem was more serious, and was referred to Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester.
Mrs Pople, 50, said: “I left her there and they did a CAT scan and phoned me up to say they found what looked like a needle that had pierced through her spinal cord.
“They said they were going to operate to remove it but that I should be aware she could die during the op. It’s horrible because she’s a young dog and is normally full of beans.”
Partner at the practice Andy Moores said: “We see dogs from across the south of England and we see quite a lot of cases of dogs with spinal problems, but I have never seen one with a needle in its spinal cord in 16 years of practice.
“Dogs often eat weird things and they end up in odd places, but usually in the abdomen.
“The needle was between the skull and the first vertebrae, and was only 5mm away from the brain itself.
“If it had gone into the brain it would have been even more serious.
“She is lucky she wasn’t more several affected. The spinal cord is very fragile, it doesn’t take much to cause major injury.”
It’s not the first time Bella has had to visit the vets. Fifteen months ago she damaged her cruciate ligaments and was out of action for a while.