A Bristol woman has forked out for surgery for her dog to remove two “tennis ball” sized bundles of hairbands. Pip Johnson, 30, was concerned about her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Rupert’s health for months.
But, when she noticed him vomit up hairbands, she decided to take him in for surgery. Vets were stunned to discover the huge bundles made up of 44 hairbands - which they had apparently never seen before. Six-year-old Rupert is now on mend.
Pip, an NHS project officer from Bristol, said: “I couldn’t believe it when the vet told me. I think they’re each about the size of a tennis ball. I keep looking at the video in disbelief. No one can believe it, it’s just so funny.
“You can hear them saying, ‘Oh my god! What is that?“I asked if they’d ever seen this before and they said they hadn’t. Underwear and socks, but never hairbands. I’m just so relieved. It’s lovely to have him settled and well again. He’s fine now, sleeping and happy.”
Rupert first became ill in March when he became restless and began vomiting, waking Pip at night. After 10- visits to the vet, Pip says she believed Rupert had pancreatitis and started ordering special medicines from overseas.
But, when her dog started vomiting up hairbands earlier this month, she took him back in and, after it was decided he should go under the knife, medics pulled the two huge balls of the bands from each of Rupert’s stomach and small intestine.
The moment was captured on video, showing the team at Zetlands Vets in Bristol pull the bands out - and they just keep coming. Pip says she knew Rupert was partial to the odd hairband as she’d spotted them in his stool before - but she had no idea he was constantly eating them.
She added that Rupert has also eaten more of her belongings, including headphones, ear plugs and even a pair of glasses.
She said: “He eats everything. He even finds hairbands under the sofa at other people’s houses - but I just didn’t think he’d gobble up everyone’s hairbands. He threw up this stuff that looked a bit like grass. I picked it up and ran it under the tap. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness it’s hairbands’.
“The elastic was sticking out from the fabric and they were much longer than they would usually be, but I could tell it was them. It looks like they’ve been there a good while. I think it’s been the hairbands all along. They take about 500 years to decompose so who knows how long they’ve been there. I’m going to have to switch to scrunchies now.”
Pip says the operation cost £2,600, although Rupert is insured.
Charles Sisson, a veterinary surgeon involved in the procedure, said: “There were two areas where the bands were present - one in his small intestine and the other in his stomach. Post removal there was minimal damage to his intestines which was fantastic for him.
“While we are very familiar with intestinal foreign bodies, I must say the nature of this one was quite novel to most of us. The fact the bands all came out in two cohesive masses was very interesting and very fortunate for Rupert.”