A warning has been issued to dog owners after a young Staffordshire bull terrier dodged death when a stick got lodged in her throat during a game of fetch.

The 11-inch stick became stuck in one-year-old Brandy's mouth and travelled through her throat into her chest when playtime in Shooters Hill went wrong.

Owner Sophie-Jayne Lye said Brandy was playing with her daughter Soe when she heard screaming.

She said: "I was inside when I heard Soe screaming. I rushed out and saw Brandy lying there with a huge stick pushing out by her chest.

"It was unbelievable.

"Luckily she was still breathing but I knew we needed to get her help urgently.”

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They took Brandy to PDSA’s Thamesmead Pet Hospital, where vets rushed the dog in for surgery.

PDSA pet hospital lead Laura Davey said it was one of the worst stick injuries she’s ever seen.

She said: “When we saw Brandy’s injury, we couldn’t believe she was still alive. It was a huge stick and it had travelled right through her mouth and throat and into her chest, narrowly missing her lungs.”

After a four-hour operation, vets managed to remove the stick and flush out splinters.

The stick had travelled between two major arteries, missing them by millimetres.

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Sophia-Jayne said: “I thought initially she wouldn’t make it. The prognosis wasn’t good and the vets told us to expect the worst.

“But amazingly, Brandy made it through surgery and PDSA did a fantastic job as she has now made a full recovery.

"We’re immensely grateful and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done.”

The PDSA is now warning dog owners against throwing sticks when playing fetch.

Laura added: “The most serious injuries tend to occur when a dog runs into a stick that has become lodged in the ground after being thrown, and the dog becomes impaled.

“We don’t want people to stop exercising their pets or even playing fetch, but we want pet owners to use safer alternatives to sticks, such as a dog-safe ball or rubber safe-stick."