Puppy drama after needle is lodged in spine

An eight-month-old puppy could have died when a sewing needle became lodged in its spinal cord.

JPCT 120413 Jessica Manville's dog Fudge had a sewing needle removed from the spinal cord in her neck. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 120413 Jessica Manville's dog Fudge had a sewing needle removed from the spinal cord in her neck. Photo by Derek Martin

The puppy, called Fudge, had to be rushed to the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire after crying out in pain.

Owner Paul Manville, from East Chiltington, said they were unaware the pup had swallowed the needle.

“She had started to look unwell and then after a few days she just kept screaming in pain.

JPCT 120413 Jessica Manville's dog Fudge had a sewing needle removed from the spinal cord in her neck. Photo by Derek Martin

“We took her to our vets but an x-ray didn’t show much,” he said. “So there was a mad dash up the M25 on a Friday night to the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire.”

He believes that the dog ate the needle, which became lodged in her throat. As the dog moved the needle made its way through her soft tissue before lodging in the spinal cord.

Mr Manville said: “The surgeon said he couldn’t believe it as Fudge had walked to the CT scan with a needle embedded in her spinal cord.”

The family were quite relived when it was revealed to be a needle as they were worried it was something more serious, such as a birth defect, which could have resulted in Fudge being put down.

JPCT 120413 Jessica Manville's dog Fudge had a sewing needle removed from the spinal cord in her neck. A scan of the dog's head and neck from the rear showing the needle in the spinal cord. Photo by Derek Martin

Colin Driver, staff clinician in veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at the college operated on Fudge.

He said: “The needle was lodged in between the join of the spinal cord and the skull - it had hit a part where the nerves were, which was causing Fudge a lot of pain.

“I was extremely shocked to see her walking about especially after seeing the scan. Obviously we only knew she was in pain, not the extent of the injury. It is just extraordinary.”

He said that neither himself nor his colleagues, who have more than 50 years’ experience between them, had ever seen anything like that before.

“And I probably will never see anything like it again,” he added.

There was also a risk with surgery as they were unsure if the needle had hit any veins. However, it all went really well and it was removed with relative ease.

Mr Driver said that it was not uncommon for dogs and cats to swallow things such as needles but that most of the time they would pass through without any problems.

He added that Fudge was extremely lucky and it was an extraordinary sequence of events. The dog could have been paralysed, suffered breathing difficulties or died.

Mr Manville said: “She is fine now, you would never think anything had happened to her. We are just glad to have her back.”

To view a video of Fudge visit www.midsussextimes.co.uk