MEET mischievous kitten Alphie – who had to undergo emergency surgery after swallowing a metal digital TV antenna.
Vets at the PDSA’s Sheffield PetAid hospital in Attercliffe were stunned when X-rays revealed the cause of Alphie’s problems – a six-inch TV aerial, which was lodged in his oesophagus and stomach.
It could have killed him if it was not taken out so PDSA vets operated to remove the aerial through the kitten’s stomach.
Owner Vanessa Waite, aged 36, from Parson Cross, Sheffield, had only owned the young tabby kitten a few days when he started showing signals of his love affair with the TV.
She said he would often sit for ages looking mesmerised by the moving pictures on the screen, but she had no idea he had also developed an unhealthy obsession with the aerial.
“One night I heard a loud bang and went upstairs to investigate but I assumed Alphie had fallen off the windowsill,” she said.
“He seemed okay and was just hiding under the bed.
“However, during the night he was being sick so the next morning I took him to PDSA. It wasn’t until later I realised that one of the aerial antennas was missing from my TV.”
Liz Airey, senior veterinary surgeon at PDSA’s Sheffield PetAid hospital, said it was one of the most unusual cases she had ever come across.
“It’s very rare,” she said.
“We did have a case a few years ago when a dog ate a tent peg but it’s very unusual for such a solid object to be swallowed in this way.
“It seems as though the kitten had been playing with the antenna and inadvertently swallowed it which is a very unusual accident.
“It’s fortunate he didn’t swallow it the other way round as the sharp broken end could have punctured his stomach and caused damage to his intestines which could have been fatal.”
Vanessa added: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the X-ray – the aerial looked huge in his tiny body.
“I’m so grateful to PDSA for saving his life and it’s amazing he’s gone on to make a full recovery. When he came home it was like nothing had happened – it definitely hasn’t taught him any lessons.
“He’s a real handful and I have to watch him all the time because he’ll try and stick anything in his mouth.
“He still loves the TV too but I don’t leave him alone with it any more.”
Every year PDSA vets see dozens of cases of pets who have swallowed strange items, ranging from rubber ducks to socks, golf balls to dummies.
The PDSA said if pet owners suspected their animal had swallowed something it shouldn’t, they should consult their vet immediately.
Has your pet ever swallowed something unusual? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org