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Lucky makes miraculous recovery after swallowing discarded fishhook

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The Cavalier Kings Charles spaniel nearly died after swallowing the hook at Barton beach
The Cavalier Kings Charles spaniel nearly died after swallowing the hook at Barton beach

A CAVALIER King Charles spaniel - aptly named Lucky – has survived after swallowing a discarded fishhook at Barton on Sea beach which caused serious internal injuries.

The pet had run onto the beach near the Beachcomber Café, where he came across the tackle with pieces of fish still attached to it.

Theresa Buckingham, whose father Peter (81) owns Lucky, had ran after him and found the pet screaming and writhing in agony.

“It was just horrid,” she said. “There was blood coming out of his mouth and I could see the fishing line, which had tiny barbed hooks, wrapped round his neck.

“I tried to pull it out, but it was obviously stuck fast and the dog was really suffering.”

Theresa, from Barton, immediately rushed eight-year-old Lucky to a vet in Milford.

“They warned me that Lucky was likely to die,” she said. “They had sedated him and had taken X-rays. It showed that the main fishing hook had gone through the oesophagus.

“The vet told me: ‘It isn’t looking good; I don’t think we are going to be able to remove it’.

“They did say that we could try the specialist veterinary hospital in Ringwood, but any treatment was likely to cost thousands and Lucky was not insured.”

But Peter wanted every possible step to be take to save Lucky, and he was taken to the hospital.

Since then, he has undergone a major operation to remove the fishhook. Theresa said: “He had to undergo two procedures to get it out - it had to be taken out through his rib cage.

“Unfortunately, fish from the hook had gone through the hole ripped in his oesophagus and caused an infection. The hook has also damaged blood vessels above his heart, causing internal bleeding, and only one lung is working.”

Theresa said vets again warned her that Lucky was unlikely to survive the operations, but he managed to pull through. However, he is now suffering heart problems.

“He is recovering at home but still has a long way to go,” she said. “We don’t know what is going to happen with his heart – it has affected his breathing and he is still undergoing tests with the cardiology department.

“It is thought he may have a blood clot on his lung. At the moment, the vet bills are over £6,000 but will rise even more.

“Luckily, my dad has the money to cover it but if he hadn’t, Lucky would not be here. It is so wrong that a poor little dog has had to suffer so much because of the sheer stupidity of one person.”

Theresa said she had heard of other recent incidents at Barton where dogs had been injured by fishing tackle.

“I’ve heard of another dog being found bleeding heavily from his chest where he had a fishhook embedded,” she said. “I know most fishermen are very responsible but obviously there are a few who are not.

“When we take the dogs for a walk, we keep them away from the fishermen, but of course the dogs are attracted to the discarded fish heads and things.

“On this occasion Lucky, who had just arrived with my dad, was off, whoosh, down to the sea before I could stop him, and unfortunately he came straight across this fishing line. Why leave it there?

“It’s not only dangerous for dogs but what about children? Fishermen should take all their stuff home with them, or make sure it is properly discarded in bins.”

A spokesperson for New Forest Dog Owners Group (NFDog) said: “All people using anything like hooks, bait and traps should take it away with them. It is very dangerous to leave it anywhere. If you do a sport like fishing you must act responsibly and make sure you leave nothing behind that could injure anyone, or any animal.”

A New Forest District Council spokesperson said: “To leave any waste on the beach is illegal littering. We would remind all people fishing at the coast to take all their equipment home or dispose of it correctly, and to ‘leave nothing but footprints’.

“Sometimes things, like hooks, can wash up on the beach, so we would also remind dog owners to remain vigilant.”

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