All creatures great and small come through the doors of Morpeth’s largest veterinary practice, but two recent casualties were more unusual than most.
For a poorly pelican and bearded dragon were among the recent patients at Robson and Prescott’s Whorral Bank centre.
Vet Sam Prescott is responsible for treating wild and exotic animals and birds so he was on hand to perform life-saving surgery on the pair.
Ten-month-old bearded dragon lizard Milo proved his enormous appetite when he swallowed a toy nerf dart. Unfortunately, the mega meal did not agree with him and put his life at risk.
Mr Prescott said: “Milo is a much-loved pet, but very adventurous around the house. True to character, he ate a child’s nerf dart. His owner saw it happening, but couldn’t stop him in time.
“He weighs only 120g and ate a three-inch 4g toy dart. We reckon that equates to a human eating a 4kg baseball bat.
“It obstructed his whole intestinal system and, despite him remaining very bright, without emergency surgery the dart would lead to a fatal compromise of his bowel.
“He came through surgery well and made a remarkable recovery. He’s on controlled liquid feed, but we’ve advised no more darts.”
Giff, an eight-year-old Great White Pelican, was brought in by Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre. After blood samples, x-rays and an endoscopy with a 2m scope usually used on horses, it was found that he had swallowed his own wing feathers.
Mr Prescott said: “We presume that Giff preened these feathers during the spring when he was moulting and swallowed them. Following their removal he is re-gaining weight and has returned to entertain the crowds with his mate at the Kielder centre.”
Head nurse Laura Petts, who assisted, has just been awarded a City and Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species.