Two-year-old Boxer Ben’s antics meant a long drive to Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) in Runcorn, Cheshire, for their expert team to “putt” him right after swallowing 16 golf balls.
NWVS’s internal medicine specialist Chantal Rosa and surgery resident Dylan Payne quickly flagged the reason behind his poor appetite, loss of weight and vomiting and were not surprised to find him in the rough.
Dylan said: “We performed an endoscopy of the stomach which revealed a large blockage due to golf balls – lots of golf balls! Ben’s stomach was very full so we needed to carry out an urgent surgery to open the stomach to allow us to remove the balls.
“It’s fairly routine, low risk surgery but the removal of so many golf balls is unique. Sixteen is a lot, even for a Boxer! The operation was a complete success and Ben is back at home doing very well and gaining weight.”
Relieved owner David Warren, from Aintree, Liverpool, said: “I had become concerned because Ben had been off his food, had lost weight and then he started being sick.
“One day he’d been sick and there was a golf ball in it but I never thought for a minute it was because he’d eaten it. I just thought it was there because we live next to a golf course and he’d been playing with the ball.
“I was horrified when the vets told me about the blockage in his stomach. They said it was golf balls and I thought he must have swallowed one or two but they said ‘No, he’s swallowed 16!’. I couldn’t believe it. I’m not a golfer so these were stray golf balls from the driving range that he’d found and eaten, which shows how good the local golfers are!
“Thankfully Ben’s bounced back well. The vets at Northwest were brilliant and looked after him so well and they really made me chuckle when they offered me the bag of balls to take home after the operation. I can see the funny side of it all now but at the time it was a very serious situation and no laughing matter.”
David is now working hard to make sure there’s no repetition but admits young Ben is not making it easy. He added: “I have tried to encourage him to play with tennis balls instead, the ones you attach and throw from a stick for the dog to chase, but Ben chewed the stick to pieces. That’s him to a tee. I’m going to have to buy some footballs for him to play with now, as he can’t possibly swallow something that size, can he?”
Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) is one of the UK’s leading specialist-led animal hospitals. It offers care in anaesthesia and analgesia, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery. For more information visit their website or search for Northwest Veterinary Specialists on social media.