A dog has undergone emergency surgery to remove a tennis ball after it became lodged in his stomach.
Two-year-old Husky-cross Pax needed the operation after the ball was spotted on an X-ray, a week after he swallowed it.
The dog had come down with a sudden mystery illness; he had stopped eating, was being sick and became very lethargic so worried owner Anna Dziedzic, 29, brought Pax in to vet charity, PDSA in Brighton.
Vets admitted the dog to carry out tests but were stunned when an X-Ray clearly revealed the problem: a whole ball in his abdomen.
Brighton PDSA senior vet, Becca Thring said: "This was a life-or-death situation - without surgery, it is highly likely that Pax would have died. As with all major operations, there are risks, but it was the only option."
Emergency surgery was carried out and the tennis ball was removed intact. Pax's operation went extremely well and he was allowed home the same day. He quickly bounced back to health, although he is now sporting a ten centimetre scar.
Owner, Anna, recalls what happened: "I was in the park with Pax and my other dog Pixie, a Jack Russell, and the dogs were happily playing with their favourite toys, tennis balls, like usual. Pax loves throwing a ball into the air and then catching it; it's something he's always done since he was a puppy.
"When it was time to leave, Pax didn't have his ball - I just assumed he'd lost it in the undergrowth and thought no more about it. He became really poorly over the next week and I was so worried about him. I was stunned when PDSA called to reveal how dangerously ill he was and what the problem was. I can't believe a bit of innocent fun had turned into a life-threatening situation."
Tennis balls are now strictly out of bounds for her dogs, and Anna has been warning other dog owners of the hazards.