Lawrence grateful to have been given more time with Ebony

A dog owner feared he was going to lose his beloved pet after a mystery choking fit.

But now, thanks to the care of Vets Now, Lawrence Batchelor has been able to relive his most precious moments with 13-year-old black Labrador Ebony.

Lawrence, from Four Marks in Hampshire, may not have taught the old dog new tricks, but he’s cherished being able to go back to favourite spots after vets stepped in following the terrifying incident.

Lawrence, 53, had taken Ebony for a walk but it almost turned into disaster when the loveable dog swallowed something she shouldn’t have.

“We’ve had Ebony since she was a puppy and she’s a real part of the family,” said dad-of-three Lawrence.

“The best way to describe her is a hungry Labrador as she’s completely driven by food and I don’t know if it was eating something that caused the problem.

“It was a normal walk until I heard what sounded like her trying to cough something up. She’s often eaten grass and got a ball of it in her stomach so I thought that’s maybe what had happened.

“I don’t know if it was grass, or a bit of bone or maybe a wasp’s sting, but something seems to have caught in her throat. She was choking all evening and I kept thinking it’d clear but it didn’t and as she was getting absolutely exhausted and I knew we had to get help.”

Lawrence took Ebony to Vets Now in Farnham, one of a nationwide network of pet emergency clinics open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays.

Senior vet nurse Katherine Howie said: “Ebony was retching and vomiting and was very weak as a result. The owners thought a foreign body might be to blame but our diagnostic tests and x-rays were inconclusive on that front.

“They did, however, reveal she had mild anaemia and suspected inflammation of the windpipe, so we monitored her closely overnight and gave her some medication, including anti-inflammatories, and the sickness became less frequent and she began to settle.”

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For Lawrence and wife Sarah, the expert help and reassurance in the middle of the night was absolutely invaluable.

“You are so worried, seeing her lifeless and unable to even get up off the floor,” said Lawrence.

“You fear it might be something really grave like a growth in her throat that’s life-threatening. I was beside myself, thinking I was going to lose her.

“We had to leave her there and it was such a relief when we got a call about 5am to say she had stabilised as it really had seemed touch and go.

“By the second day she was able to stand up and wag her tail and that’s when we knew we had our dog back.”

And with the expert care helping to ensure Ebony pulled through, Lawrence has spent the time since the scare in June making fresh memories he feared would never be possible.

“When she was so poorly I had these images of great walks we’d been on, to the beach or the woods,” said Lawrence.

“I was dreaming of being able to recapture those moments and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve taken her back to Hayling Island and just loved watching her wading in the water.

“We hoped we’d get the chance to have one more moment like that and we have. We’re just so grateful to the vets and vet nurses who helped her get through it when we didn’t know where else to turn.”

The Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Farnham has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and a veterinary nurse on site at all times.