Murphy the German Shepherd underwent life-saving surgery after he swallowed six golf balls.
The seven-year-old rescue dog had the emergency operation after X-rays revealed six unidentified round objects inside him.
A team of vets performed the delicate operation – and were stunned to find six golf balls in his stomach.
Murphy is now making a full recovery back at home in Jarrow with relieved and happy owner David Larson.
David, a joiner, got Murphy from a dogs’ home 18 months ago, and reckons his pet must have had the balls inside him all that time because he is never walked anywhere near a golf course.
It only came to light when Murphy became ill after eating a bone and David took him to Westway Veterinary Group hospital in West Road, Newcastle, who took some precautionary X-rays.
“There were some foreign bodies inside his stomach but the vets couldn’t identify what they were so Westway operated at their hospital and saved his life,” said David.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard he had swallowed six golf balls. I’ve only had him for 18 months and he has never come into contact with golf balls during that time so they must have been lodged inside him for a long time.
“It only became apparent when he swallowed a bone, which made him poorly as he had diarrhoea and was being sick.
“Having the golf balls inside him must have affected him because I’ve noticed since the operation he is much brighter and much more playful. He was a bit down before and he was maybe having problems.
“He is very happy and very playful. He has made an excellent recovery since the operation and I’m going to make sure he is never given bones or allowed anywhere near a golf course in future.”
The delicate procedure was carried out by Mandy Ball, Amy Steel and Helen Clark.
Vet Mandy Ball said: “Murphy had been vomiting, had a very painful abdomen and was dehydrated. We stabilised him with a drip, pain killers and antibiotics before going ahead with surgery the next morning.
“His condition was life threatening. We gave him a general anaesthetic and cut into his stomach to remove the six golf balls. He also had a very inflated colon which had to be unblocked.
“He stayed in another night and was doing much better by the next morning. We’re pleased to see he has made a full recovery and is back to his normal self.”
Westway Veterinary Group the North East’s biggest veterinary business is warning owners not to let their dogs play with golf balls during the summer.
Mandy added: “Owners need to watch what their dogs get up to when out and about.
“They may even need to put a basket muzzle on their dog when off lead if they are likely to swallow things like balls and stones.
“Dogs can become very ill quickly as they can obstruct the stomach and intestines.”