A RABBIT who survived a terribly infected head injury and a ferret who escaped from the jaws of death after being shaken around by a large dog are finalists in a national pet competition.

The animals from the region have been shortlisted in the PDSA Pet Survivor Awards, which recognise death-defying tales of survival.

The five-year-old rabbit Hans, of Richmond, North Yorkshire, survived an attack from a dog or a fox, but was left with a horrific head injury. With nobody to care for him, he was suffering and gravely ill.

The Northern Echo: SURVIVED: Dobby at the vets

Dobby at the vets

After being rescued, he underwent an emergency operation to try and repair the damage and made an astoundingly quick recovery.

Vet Trudi Pardoe, of Abbey House Vets, said: “Hans’ head wound was so severe, and he was in such poor condition, that euthanasia was a serious consideration.

"There was extensive skin loss around the wound and I wasn’t certain we would even be able to save his ear.

"But he had already survived against the odds, so we agreed to progress with treatment and see how he responded.”

New owner Gwen Butler, who runs a small animal charity named Bunny Burrows, said: “I’d named him Hans, after the fairy tale author, as he was something of an ugly duckling when we first rescued him, but I hoped that he would eventually turn into a beautiful swan."

Five-year-old ferret Dobby, of Stanley, County Durham, escaped from his house one evening and ended up in the jaws of a large dog. He suffered life-threatening internal injuries.

A damaged section of Dobby’s intestine had to be removed – major surgery for a pet so small. Over the next few days he got his strength back, and was eventually out of danger and able to go home.

Dobby, who is named after the house elf in the Harry Potter series, was entered into the competition by his owner, Jade Gardiner.

She said: “Dobby’s treatment cost over a thousand pounds, but he’s worth every penny.”

Entries for the charity awards, run in association with PDSA Petsurance, were received from all over the UK.

The winner will be decided by a public vote via the charity’s website - www.pdsa.org.uk/petsurvivor with voting closing on December 4.