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Ask the vet - your pet worries answered

PUBLISHED: 12:17 28 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:17 28 July 2015

Vet Shane Morrison with en endoscope used for investigating swallowed objects

Vet Shane Morrison with en endoscope used for investigating swallowed objects


Shane Morrison, of Christchurch Veterinary referrals in Ipswich, helps a dog overcome a summer hazard

Grass seeds  and even entire ears - are a summer hazard for dogs running in fieldsGrass seeds and even entire ears - are a summer hazard for dogs running in fields

It was with grave concern that Tracy Walton brought Stephie to us late on a Tuesday evening recently.

She had been referred to us by Peter Gard of Haven vets in Clacton-on-Sea following the development of a coarse, hacking cough the previous week. Stephie was an otherwise sprightly Staffordshire bull terrier whose demeanour belied her age of almost 10 years.

She was swiftly sedated and a bronchoscopy was soon carried out. This is when a very narrow (3.7mm) flexible endoscope is passed down the trachea (wind-pipe) and into the lungs.

A piece of the grass was identified at the point at which the trachea divided into the bronchi. Special forceps were then guided to the grass using the endoscopic camera system. The grass was retrieved with the forceps and to our amazement this turned out to be an entire ear of barley grass. Stephie recovered well from her endoscopy and her cough soon disappeared. Mrs Walton was thrilled with the outcome.

“The service received at Christchurch Veterinary Referrals was fantastic. We cannot thank Shane Morrison enough for helping Stephie – she would not be here without him.

“Stephie is back to her normal happy self, running around, wagging her tail.”

Despite how surprising this story might seem, inhalation of grass seeds is a potential danger for dogs running in mature fields during the summer months.


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