PHOTOS: Surgeon saves dog from potentially deadly feast

BRANDON — Like many Americans, Burke the English pointer is recuperating today from what he ate during Thanksgiving week. But Burke’s food choices could have killed him. He swallowed so many hair ties that a 7-inch clump of them stuck in his belly.

Dylan Burke with the family dog Burke

Dylan Burke with the family dog Burke

Now the ties have been removed, because of surgery performed at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, and Burke is home with family members who are extremely thankful.

“Thank you so much for helping Burke. He means so much to me. I couldn’t live without him,” 9-year-old Dylan Burke wrote to BluePearl after the surgery. He added, “There will never be anything on the floor Burke can eat again.”

Burke, who is 3, has worked his way into the hearts of owners Shane and Allyson Burke, and their children Emma, 7, and Dylan.  “He is the most relaxed, easygoing dog you’ve ever met,” Shane Burke said.

The Burkes noticed earlier this week their dog seemed to have lost his appetite and couldn’t keep food down.  So Shane took Burke to Care Animal Hospital of Brandon, where the staff determined Burke had foreign material in his stomach.

He was taken to the BluePearl hospital in Brandon on Tuesday where Dr. Nicole Salas performed surgery to remove the hair ties.

“I can’t even tell you how many there were,” said Dr. Salas, who is board-certified in veterinary surgery. “Burke was a trouper and he rebounded very quickly from the surgery… he’s full of life.”

The hair ties removed from Burke's stomach.

The hair ties removed from Burke’s stomach.

Shane Burke said, “It’s hard to put my feelings in words.  It was heartwarming, just phenomenal.”

The cost of the surgery was underwritten by Frankie’s Friends, a foundation that helps provide lifesaving care for pets when families cannot afford it. The Burkes say the dog means the world to their family, and they are grateful for the help.

“Thank you for being our Christmas miracle,” Allyson Burke wrote in a letter to BluePearl.