A grateful couple have praised the quick action of emergency vets in Milton Keynes, who saved their dog's life - after the pooch ate an open safety pin.

Little Golden Labrador-Retriever puppy, Bella, who is just seven months old, swallowed the pin from a bin after escaping through a pet gate that had been left open accidentally.

Although the pin didn't seem to affect her too much, her anxious owners Sarah Ritchie, 29, and Will Maisey, 28, rushed her to an emergency vet clinic.

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And a quick x-ray shockingly showed the safety pin, left open, lying in Bella's oesophagus.

Quick-thinking staff at local pet emergency clinic Vets Now, in Milton Keynes, wasted no time in referring Bella to a referral practice in Hertfordshire for emergency treatment.

The puppy was put under general anaesthetic, so that the team at Davies, the referral practice, could perform an emergency endoscopy - using a long, thin tube to remove the pin.

Sarah and Will, from Milton Keynes, waited anxiously while the procedure was carried out - but within just 24 hours, they had their bouncing, ‘exuberant’ puppy back.

Will said the ‘distressing’ incident took place on a Sunday morning in November.

He said: "Sarah had just come back from a run, and she left the pet stairgate open for just a couple of seconds - and Bella saw her opportunity, and bolted upstairs.

"Sarah saw Bella rummaging for the pin and quickly tried to take it off her - but silly Bella decided to swallow it.

"I actually didn't believe Sarah at first - the pin didn't seem to affect Bella at all, and she was still her normal, bouncy self, running around as normal.

"But Sarah insisted she'd seen Bella swallow it. She was pretty scared, and said we had to get Bella to a vet."

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Will added: "The pin was only in the bin because Sarah had inadvertently thrown it away with a printed number from a recent running competition."

Thankfully there were no complications with the procedure, and Bella recovered quickly and was discharged the same afternoon.

Now, Will has praised the swift action of the teams at Vets Now and Davies referral centre, saying they saved his dog's life.

He said: "It's a good job Sarah saw Bella eating the pin, otherwise we wouldn't have known.

"I'm so thankful to everyone involved - Emma at Davies was fantastic, she let us know our options straight away, and was able to perform the endoscopy quickly.

"We've put lids on the bins now to stop Bella from getting into them - and we'll be keeping a closer eye on that stair gate from now on."

Meanwhile, Emma Rogers-Smith, Internal Medicine Resident at Davies, said: "It wasn't possible to tell from her X-ray if the safety pin had perforated the oesophagus or not.

"We discussed the options with the emergency team at Vets Now, either giving Bella a meal and making her sick or performing an emergency endoscopy.

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"It was very likely that making her sick would have enabled the safety pin to be passed without complication.

"But there was the risk of damage to the oesophagus which could lead to a life-threatening pneumothorax and subsequently require emergency surgery.

"Because of this risk, the referring vets felt it was best to send Bella to us.

"But there is still a risk of oesophageal damage with endoscopic removal, especially given the fact that the safety pin was open."