A CONCERNED dog owner from South Cerney has issued a warning to other pet owners after she spent her life savings on an operation and aftercare which saved her spaniel's life.

Paula Dorrington-Brown first noticed that her Cocker Spaniel Cookie was acting strange when it began coughing last Monday morning (August 14) and wouldn't eat its breakfast.

After a trip to Cotswolds Vets in Cirencester she quickly discovered it was much more serious than kennel cough.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cookie the Cocker SpanielCookie the Cocker Spaniel (Image: Paula Dorrington-Brown)

Cookie was swiftly referred to Eastcott Veterinary Hospital in Swindon and underwent specialist life-saving open chest surgery the following day (August 15), which cost £10,000.

The consultant told Paula that Cookie had inhaled a grass seed which had penetrated her lung and caused an abscess in her diaphragm which could have been fatal.

After surgery Cookie remained in an intensive care unit, which cost £1000 per day, and was discharged home yesterday (August 21).

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cookie recovering at home after being discharged from hospitalCookie recovering at home after being discharged from hospital (Image: Paula Dorrington-Brown)

For the next six weeks Cookie will have to rest, be on multiple medications and Paula will have to attend to the dog's wound care regime.

Paula said that the hospital doesn't offer finance or payment plans so she had to use a huge chunk of her life savings to begin to pay towards the mounting veterinary bills.

When her pet insurance failed to cover the remaining costs she decided to swallow her pride and set up a GoFundMe page to ask for donations.

So far 197 people have donated £5,465 towards the cause and Paula has been posting daily updates about Cookie's recovery.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cookie and PaulaCookie and Paula (Image: Paula Dorrington-Brown)

Paula said: "My wonderful waggy-tailed world was turned upside down last Monday when Cookie suddenly became very poorly.

"I took her to the vet expecting she'd got kennel cough but was told by Cotswold Vets that she'd need specialist life-saving open chest surgery to remove a grass seed she'd inhaled.

"No one should be put in the situation where they have to lose their beloved best friend because they can't afford to pay for their treatment. 

"I would like to urge other dog owners to be super careful with their fur babies and get them checked out if they notice anything unusual about their behaviour. 

"Cookie would've died from sepsis before I'd have even known how ill she was if I hadn't got her seen immediately.

"I can't even begin to bear the thought of losing her, so wanted to give her the best possible chance of a recovery - but it came at a cost."

A spokesperson for Cotswold Vets said: "Grass seeds are common during the warm season, and these can be very dangerous for dogs.

"With their sharp, arrow-like shape, they can easily lodge themselves in sensitive places like their ears, eyes, nose or under the skin, causing a lot of discomfort and pain.

"If you suspect your dog may have a grass seed lodged in their skin, don't hesitate to talk to us."

More information about the dangers of grass seeds can be found on the Blue Cross's website.

To donate to Cookie's GoFundMe page visit tinyurl.com/34hn526z