Warning to dog owners in Sheffield after pet swallows children's toy and nearly dies

Rocco's life-saving treatment has cost 2,000
Rocco's life-saving treatment has cost 2,000
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A dog required life-saving surgery after swallowing a children's toy in his owner's Sheffield garden.

Rocco, a two-year-old French mastiff, was rushed to the vets last week by James Tompkins and went under the knife after tests showed the harmless-looking soft toy - known as a pineapple Bobball - was blocking his intestines.

Rocco was full of life before he became ill

Rocco was full of life before he became ill

Mr Tompkins, of Arbourthorne, believes the toy was thrown into his garden by a neighbour, and he has urged fellow pet owners to check for any such hazards before letting their pooches loose outside.

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The 33-year-old, who works as a security guard at Crystal Peaks, has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help cover the £2,000 bill for Rocco's treatment, which he is struggling to pay.

He claims he had been unable to insure Rocco as the mutt has an existing skin condition, meaning providers were unwilling to offer cover.

"Rocco's doing well after his operation but the vets say he's likely to need another course of tablets, so the £2,000 bill is likely to rise further," he said.

Rocco after undergoing surgery to remove the toy

Rocco after undergoing surgery to remove the toy

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"I've managed to rustle up £380 but I can't afford to pay £620 a week, which is what they're asking for, and I'm scared that if he does need more treatment they're going to say I have to pay first.

"I wasn't very happy when I found out what had caused it. The toy must have been thrown over the garden fence by someone.

"After what's happened, I'd advise other dog owners to always check their garden before letting their pets out. If you live near people with children there could be a risk."

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Mr Tompkins first noticed Rocco was unwell last Saturday as he wasn't eating and couldn't keep any water down.

This is the type of soft toy which Mr Tompkins says ended up blocking Rocco's intestines

This is the type of soft toy which Mr Tompkins says ended up blocking Rocco's intestines

He was first diagnosed with a cold and given an injection to stop the nausea but his condition failed to improve so his owner took him back on Monday, when he was put on a drip and had various tests before an x-ray revealed the blockage.

You can donate at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rocco-burrow.

Rocco with his friend Rolo, a four-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier

Rocco with his friend Rolo, a four-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier