A DOG had to have life-saving surgery after it swallowed a lump of coal.

Monty, a labrador from Blackburn, was refusing to eat and was sick.

Owner Pamela Qualter took Monty to Vets4Pets in Blackburn, believing he had picked up the sickness bug during a walk.

Tests were carried out but could not pinpoint the cause of the illness.

Veterinary surgeon Brian Spar performed a barium procedure, which involves putting a luminous liquid into tan animal’s system to pinpoint whether there’s an obstruction.

X-rays every half hour showed the barium moving through Monty’s body until it stopped in his intestine, where it remained for hours.

Dr Spar discovered Monty’s intestines were purple and five times larger than normal, and that a piece of coal had been swallowed and became stuck in it.

The coal had pierced the intestinal wall, and immediate life-saving surgery was needed to remove the piece.

Dr Spar said: “Most worryingly I could see that whatever the object was had pierced through the intestinal wall, which is very serious, as the intestinal content and bacteria can then leak into the abdominal cavity, causing infection throughout the entire gut, which can be fatal.

“However, luckily the hole must have just happened before we began the surgery, as there was no infection present.

“We managed to remove the foreign object, then flushed his abdomen and closed him all up.

“Monty is incredibly lucky, and I’m very surprised that the lump of coal did not do more internal damage to his organs, as it was very jagged.

“If Monty hadn’t been operated on that day, the outcome could have been very severe and potentially fatal.”

Monty was able to return home the same day as his operation and began to eat small meals straight away, and ten days later he revisited Dr Spar to have his stitches removed.

Ms Qualter said: “We have had Monty since he was a puppy, and although he is a real character and energetic like any young Labrador, he is also very well-behaved, and doesn’t usually get his nose into things he shouldn’t.

“I’ve had dogs with a number of illnesses before, but this time I just couldn’t figure out what could be wrong with him.

“The team were amazing and took really good care of him, removing the object before it did any real damage."