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Ecology and Life
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  Kitten swallows 15cm-long TV aerial
A kitten has survived after swallowing a 15cm (6in) TV aerial.

Alphie required emergency surgery when the metal antenna became lodged in his oesophagus and stomach.

Vanessa Waite, of , Sheffield, had only owned the young tabby for a few days when he started his love affair with the TV. She said he would sit for a long time, mesmerised by the moving pictures on the screen, but she had no idea he had 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 window sill. He seemed OK and was just hiding under the bed. However, during the night he was being sick so the next morning I took him to the PDSA. It wasn't until later that I realised that one of the aerial antennas was missing from my TV."

The aerial would have proved fatal if it remained inside the kitten, so surgeons removed it through his stomach.

Liz Airey, senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA Sheffield PetAid hospital, said it was one of the most unusual cases she had 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 that 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."

Waite said: "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 that 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 anymore."

The PDSA said it saw many cases of pets that had swallowed strange items, ranging from rubber ducks and golf balls to socks and dummies.

The charity advises all pet owners to consult their vet immediately if they suspect their pet has swallowed something unusual.
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