A PLAYFUL Border Terrier has bounced back from a serious health scare after a ball went unnoticed in its stomach for two years.

Trixie the dog had come down with a mysterious illness and after becoming concerned her owner took her into hospital for a scan.

This showed a small object in her stomach which after surgery was revealed to be a bouncy ball she had swallowed two years before.

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Owner Melanie Pounder, 42, from Sunderland, said: "When it turned out to be the ball, I couldn't believe it, we just assumed Trixie had passed it through her system two years ago.

"To think it's been there the whole time is just incredible! I'm so grateful to PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) for helping Trixie to get well again, as I love her to bits and we would be lost without her.

"I'm now very careful about which toys Trixie plays with, and I make sure she only has ones that are too big to swallow."

Emma Holt, PDSA vet, said she was fortunate the ball had not moved to her intestines, where it could have caused a fatal blockage

"Trixie was well in herself, but we knew that something wasn't right," she said.

"So we took an X-ray and spotted a small object in her abdomen, which looked suspicious. Exploratory surgery was carried out, and we soon discovered it was a bouncy ball.

"I've seen a few strange cases during my time as a vet, but never something like this where a foreign body has just been hiding away for so long before causing a problem."

Ms Holt also warned other dog owners to take special care when selecting the size of balls for their dogs to play with, as ones that are too small can cause choking or swallowing.