Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Spaniel weight gain mystery solved

Ryan Jones, 13, with his sprocker spaniel Snickers who had more than a kilo of loose chippings rattling round in its stomach
Ryan Jones, 13, with his sprocker spaniel Snickers who had more than a kilo of loose chippings rattling round in its stomach

A family sprocker spaniel stunned its owners when a suspected pregnancy turned out to be more than a kilo of loose chippings rattling round in its stomach.

Swollen-bellied Snickers was named after the popular nutty chocolate bar because the family saw early on the dog was completely "nuts".

The three-year-old pet lived up to its reputation when it secretly gobbled down more than 140 loose chippings and continued running around as normal for weeks.

When landscape gardener Warren Jones, 45, of Gorseinon, near Swansea, south Wales, took Snickers to the vet, life-saving surgery was immediately ordered.

Schoolboy son Ryan, 13, alerted his father to what he thought might be an unexpected pregnancy when he noticed the dog's bulging belly.

But within hours of seeking help vets were operating on Snickers, meticulously removing the individual chippings from her oversized stomach one at a time.

"I knew that it wasn't a pregnancy but when the vet told us it was chippings we were amazed, although things started to make sense," Mr Jones said.

It explained the small piles of one-and-a-half inch stones which mysteriously began appearing in parts of the garden several weeks before.

Snickers had been bringing up chippings carried around in her stomach, leaving small unexplained mounds in the home's back garden.

Up to six tons of loose chippings are laid in the property's front drive, which Snickers would playfully chase and chew when cars came and went.

"She does it when friends come round. We've always thought she was nuts, that's why we called her Snickers. We never realised she was swallowing them," Mr Jones added.

He said when vets saw the X-ray they immediately advised an operation which took place over the bank holiday period at the end of last month.

"I've got a bag of chippings at home now, I said I wanted them back, I might use them to make a path," he joked.

He said Snickers is still recovering from her one-hour operation but in future would be closely watched around chippings and kept on a lead.

Vet Suzanne Ackroyd, 32, who works for Haven Vets Ltd, of Gorseinon, carried out the life-saving operation with colleague Jane Mathews.

"You could feel what was inside as soon as we examined her but it was still quite amazing to see the X- ray.

"It is very common to get foreign bodies in dogs because of the way they eat but I have never seen anything like this.

"She was lucky because the chippings stayed in her stomach. If they had got in her intestines they could have cause an obstruction and killed her.

"The operation took about an hour. We were taking the stones out and they just kept coming. We counted 130 in all but she had previously brought up at least 12 before.

"But it was a good operation to do, quite exciting really. Snickers is recovering well."

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