A DOG is lucky to be alive after crashing into a piece of wood which speared his chest and narrowly missed his heart.

The lurcher was enjoying an evening run in the New Forest when accidentally impaled himself, causing a serious injury which required a three-hour operation.

It happened after retired Vanessa Mills asked her younger daughter Kate to give four-year-old Gerald some exercise.

Later she received an emergency call from Kate, who said the dog suddenly started yelping and was lying on the ground with blood coming from his chest.

Gerald was gently lifted into a car and taken to Seadown Veterinary Services in Hythe, which is still able to treat emergency cases despite the lockdown.

Vanessa, who lives near Lymington, said: "I knew that getting Gerald to Seadown for immediate attention would greatly enhance his chance of recovery and also help reduce the risk of infection.

"But we never realised at that time that things were as serious as they were."

Surgery revealed that a piece of wood about four inches long was embedded in Gerald's body.

Seadown vet Emma Owen said: "We performed a three-hour operation to open his chest cavity to suture his wound, with Gerald on a ventilator throughout. To our surprise we found a huge stick in Gerald's chest that had only narrowly missed his heart."

The lurcher spent two days in Seadown's hospital but is doing well after being given a large amount of medication.

Vanessa said: "Gerald has now finished his antibiotics and although he's currently confined to the garden on a lead we're are thrilled he's home and getting better.

"The service at Seadown has been fantastic and we really can't thank Emma and her team enough.

"If I can offer any advice to other dog owners it would be to always have a mobile and your vet's telephone number to hand.

"For us it helped so much and we're sure Gerald is only here now because of the Kate's quick thinking and the marvellous treatment Gerald received at Seadown."