A sick dog with a rare medical condition has been given a new lease of life thanks to a special high chair which helps him eat.
Buck, a 17-month-old Labrador, suffers from megaesophagus, which means he is sick when eating unless held in an upright position.
But university engineers and an animal charity teamed up to design the chair which holds Buck in place so he can eat.
Buck the Labrador weighed just 38.4lbs when he was taken in – but his new high chair means he is able to eat and keep food down
Buck weighed just 38.4lbs when he was taken in by the Team Edward Labrador Rescue in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire – half of what a dog that age should weigh.
But with the help of the high chair it is now hoped he can start piling on the pounds and live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Team Edward Labrador Rescue took the dog in before University of Nottingham vet and teaching associate, Emma Drinkall, spotted Buck’s heartbreaking story.
Along with her partner Nick Rowan, a senior lecturer in product design and engineering at De Montford University, the couple designed and built the chair in just a day.
The high chair has been designed so that Emma and Nick can continue to adapt it as Buck hopefully gains weight and grows in the future.
Buck has not regurgitated since using the chair and his carers have put him on a high calorie puppy food diet to help him improve his strength.
Ms Drinkall said: ‘We saw the Buck’s story on social media, and I knew we just had to do something if he was going to have a chance.
Buck’s condition meant that he weighed just half of what a dog his age should weigh
‘Luckily Nick and I have the combined expertise and experience to build the chair quickly.
‘There is currently no surgery available for dogs with this condition, and as Buck is already receiving the medications that can help, the one thing other thing that could help him keep his food down is gravity itself.
‘Being upright while feeding will help the food drip through the sphincter that controls access to his stomach.
‘Dogs with mega-oesophagus are at risk of developing very serious chest infections which can prove fatal, because they can accidentally breathe in food particles when they regurgitate their food.
‘We hope that by feeding Buck this way and stopping him from regurgitating we will minimise the risk of this additional complication developing. Wendy, Team Edward Labrador Rescue, David Bucks’ foster Dad, and Laura Buck’s Vet have all done an amazing job with Buck so far.’
Mr Rowan added: ‘I’m just so pleased with how it fits, how comfortably he sits in it and how happy he is to be fed like this.
‘He is the same width in his shoulders as our own 5 kilo Jack Russell, so without meeting Buck ourselves, we had to double check his measurements during the build – it just didn’t seem right for a big dog like a Labrador.’
An x-ray of Buck’s oesophagus showing that it’s abnormal in that it’s enlarged and has lost its tube-like state that pushes food through to the stomach
Buck is now able to eat and is happy again. Wendy Hopewell, who runs Team Edward, said: ‘It was just the most fabulous sight to see Buck eating in the chair and happy to be in it’
Laura Pearce, from the Lawrence Veterinary Centre in Eastwood, who has been Buck’s vet since he was rescued from the charity, said she was ‘surprised’ at how long he had lasted living with the condition.
She said: ‘His oesophagus is abnormal in that it’s enlarged and has lost its tube-like state that pushes food through to the stomach.
‘It means little of the food he eats actually makes it into his stomach for digestion, most gets stuck in pouches in the oesophagus or is regurgitated again.’
Wendy Hopewell, who runs Team Edward, said: ‘It was just the most fabulous sight to see Buck eating in the chair and happy to be in it.
‘To see how he sat in it straight away and get stuck in was incredible, it just pulls at your heartstrings.’