Shock as Leeds puppy swallows TV remote battery with concerns over toxic acid leak and chemical burns
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Four-month-old Hungarian Vizsla Dexter grabbed the remote and downed the battery before owner Sharon Nicholson, from Stockton-on-Tees, could stop him. Fearful of the potentially lethal damage from the acid inside, she took him to Swift Referrals in Leeds, part of My Family Vets, for an urgent procedure under general anaesthetic.
Veterinary specialists at the referral hospital in Wetherby found the hungry hound wasn’t just partial to batteries — they also removed twigs and bits of a belt.
Now, ahead of this week’s National Puppy Day on Thursday, they are warning owners of the dangers batteries and other foreign bodies can cause.
“Dexter is prone to getting hold of anything lying around, so we always try and keep things out of reach,” said Mrs Nicholson. “But he sleeps upstairs, and I’d accidentally left a TV remote on the bed. The back was off it and before I could stop him, he grabbed it and the two AA batteries fell out. I tried to distract him, but he swallowed one of the batteries in a split second.
“I panicked because I thought he might have pierced the battery and the acid could cause real damage, so I knew I needed help straight away.”
Acid leaking from typical AA and AAA batteries can cause chemical burns and serious damage to the oesophagus, stomach and bowel very quickly after ingestion. Smaller batteries, such as those found in the key fobs of cars, can cause electrical burns inside the patient, often as quickly as 15-30 minutes after being swallowed. These injuries are often severe and can prove fatal.
In Dexter’s case, the battery casing was, thankfully, intact and had passed into the stomach, but urgent action was still required.
“We saw Dexter on a Saturday evening after his own vets referred him following unsuccessful treatment,” said vet Laurence Doddy from Swift Referrals. “Strong stomach acid can corrode a battery, causing the toxic contents to be released and absorbed into the bloodstream. So, under general anaesthesia, we passed an endoscope and, with some delicate manoeuvres, retrieved the missing AA battery. Hopefully, Dexter will just stick to dog food now, but it’s a warning to owners how quickly puppies can get hold of something and get into trouble.”