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A young dog who was speared in the neck by a stick has miraculously survived her four-month fight for life.

Poppy the three-year-old Labrador was out for an evening walk with her owner when she started gagging and bleeding from her mouth.

Amanda Coleman, from Measham, Leicestershire, feared the worst and spent 16 long weeks trying to get her precious pooch back to normal.

Now, she’s paying a glowing tribute to the specialist vet who saved Poppy’s life, and says it’s “nothing short of a miracle”.

Recalling the traumatic experience, Amanda said: “We first realised something was wrong when Poppy started coughing and gagging on her night-time walk.

“She was bleeding from the back of her mouth and gagging as if she had something stuck in her throat.

“We went to our local emergency vets who stabilised Poppy and treated the bleeding, however they were unable to see that a piece of the stick was embedded in Poppy’s neck with use of X-rays alone.”

Poppy remained unwell for over a month and her vet referred her to Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in the West Midlands.

It was there that animal specialist Erika Villedieu found a four-inch piece of stick still embedded in her neck – more than six weeks after her accident.

“At first, we were stunned that Poppy had been walking around with this stick still inside without anyone realising,” Amanda said.

Erika operated immediately to remove the stick but said surgery was not the simple solution that was expected.

Poppy received a long course of antibiotics after surgery, however, despite her neck swelling having resolved, she still wasn’t herself.

Amanda said: “Poppy was withdrawn, lethargic, drooling continually, not interested in her food or anything else, and wouldn’t walk anywhere.

“A month later, Poppy was still not getting any better so we had a difficult conversation with Erika as we felt Poppy’s quality of life was being so badly affected and she was slowly starving herself.”

After a second CT scan, Erika was able to diagnose Poppy with sialadenosis, an enlarged salivary gland, and started her on anti-epileptic medication.

Within two days, Poppy’s signs completely resolved and now she’s back to her lively self, enjoying her walks.

Amanda said: “Throughout the entire four months we worried constantly. We honestly thought we would lose Poppy after all she had been through.

“It was a long road to recovery for Poppy and it would never have been possible if it was not for Erika, and the team at Willows. We can’t thank them all enough for what they achieved.

“Poppy is back to her normal boisterous, silly, bouncy self.

“Before the accident, we always used to say that Poppy was hyperactive and when I picked her up from Willows after the second CT scan and saw her bouncing and dragging Erika across the waiting room to get to me, I knew we had our crazy girl back!

“I couldn’t stop smiling, and couldn’t thank Erika enough. She was amazing and performed nothing short of a miracle to save Poppy’s life.”