A BORDERS veterinary practice has been praised for saving the life of a mischievous spaniel who ate the plastic lining of his owner’s car boot.

Percy, a 13-month-old black and white cocker spaniel, is lucky to be alive after becoming extremely ill when he ate the boot liner while travelling home from holiday with owners Gail and David Millar.

The couple’s other spaniel, Bertie, had ripped the liner - fitted to keep the boot of their Ford Focus clean from hair and muddy paws - before Percy swallowed two big chunks of it unbeknown to his owners.

Within days, he started going downhill rapidly, his weight plummeted from 14.2 kilos to 11.5 kilos and he was constantly vomiting. He lost his appetite and his coat became matted.

His worried owners, who live in Lauder, took him to Border Vets in Galashiels, where clinical director Dr Jim Ross x-rayed their much-loved pet, and warned them he needed an emergency operation to remove the material.

Peeblesshire News: Percy with owner Gail Millar and Border Vets clinical director Jim RossPercy with owner Gail Millar and Border Vets clinical director Jim Ross

Because he was seriously ill, it meant surgery came with a considerable risk to life, but Jim and his nursing team worked together to keep him alive.

Dr Ross said: “Percy was extremely poorly and his owner explained the weight had fallen off him so he was extremely lean. Without the surgery he would have died as the foreign material would have caused his intestine to break down and rupture, causing a massive septicaemia, so he got here just in time.

“The inside of his abdomen was a mess with bits of plastic and chunks of material, and we had to make three incisions in his intestine to remove stringy material and a larger incision directly into his stomach to remove chunks of boot liner.

“When pets are this poorly, the chances of surviving surgery are low due to the effects of the anaesthetic and possible complications. Thank goodness I was surrounded by such a good nursing team who kept Percy alive and monitored his blood pressure, heart-rate and fluids to keep him going. It was a really happy outcome and there was a big sigh of relief all round.”

Percy has now made a full recovery and is back to his mischievous self with Bertie, along with Gail

and David’s other dog, fox red Labrador Harry, and his owners have paid tribute to the Border Vets team for saving their pet’s life.

David said: “We were travelling home from a few days away in Yellowcraig, near Dunbar, when Bertie shredded the boot liner and Percy, his partner in crime, got in on the act and ate it.

“A few days, later we noticed Percy wasn’t quite right and he stopped eating. It was when he started vomiting bits of material that we realised what had happened and, within 24 hours, he had deteriorated.

“When we arrived at Border Vets, Jim took one look and told us how grave the situation was. He and his team saved his life and he has made a remarkable recovery as we didn’t think he would make it.”

If you fear your pet may have eaten something it shouldn’t, Border Vets recommends you contact your vet immediately for advice.