MINNIE the springer spaniel is lucky to be alive after inhaling a four-inch long thorn which became lodged just millimetres from her heart.
Her owners Jo and Karen Hocken of Aberford, Leeds, were baffled as to why their normally energetic pet suddenly became poorly and listless in January this year.
Minnie was prescribed two courses of antibiotics, but remained ill and developed a persistent cough.
An X-ray failed to identify the problem and Minnie was referred to Calder Vets in Dewsbury in June, when the mystery of her illness was finally solved.
It was discovered that a four-inch long thorn had worked its way through her lung and had lodged between her heart and oesophagus.
It is believed Minnie had inhaled the thorn while swimming in the River Ouse near Appleton Roebuck.
Minnie underwent successful major surgery to extract the thorn.
Vet Joachim Proot said: “This was complex surgery and Minnie was very lucky.
“If the thorn had been embedded just two millimetres either side then it is most likely that she wouldn’t have survived.”
“We’re delighted that Minnie has made a full recovery and is back to her normal self.
Jo Hocken said: “Because it had been there for so long it had grown into her internal tissue, so it was truly remarkable they managed to find it and then remove it safely.”
She added: “Minnie has so much character she is one of the family and is loved not only by us but by our extended family and friends.
“She is a joy to live with and plays a huge part in our daily lives.
“She is rarely not with us so when she had to stay with Calder Vets at their animal hospital in Dewsbury our home was not the same and felt empty and lifeless.
“Whilst recovering she received numerous get well cards and messages from neighbours, family and friends, which is testament to her popularity.
“Bearing in mind the scale of her operation and the 10in line of stitches she had received, her recovery was remarkable.
“When we went to collect her from the recovery room we could hear her trying to run down the corridor with excitement.”