These amazing X-ray pictures show a sewing needle lodged in a kitten's skull after a freak accident.
The curious 14-week-old kitten, called Nala, ate the needle after finding it on the floor, getting it wedged in the back of her throat.
The needle pierced the roof of her mouth and became embedded in her skull.
Nala's owners Francouis and Inge Kroukamp, both 40, rushed her to the vets who referred her to a top animal hospital.
There X-rays showed the needle was just a millimetres from Nala’s eye socket and could either blind her or fall into her stomach and cause potentially fatal internal bleeding.
Surgeons used a tiny camera to pinpoint the exact spot where they could grab the needle with tiny forceps and gently pull it free, removing it in a four-hour procedure earlier this month.
Nala has now made a full recovery and is back home with her relieved owners.
Francouis, of Haverhill, Suffolk, said: "The needle was near Nala’s eye socket and there was a danger it could move and she’d lose her eye or it could become dislodged and go down into her stomach and damager her intestines."
Poppy Bristow, head of cardiac surgery at Dick White Referrals in Cambridge, was part of the team who saved Nala's vision.
She said: "It’s very unusual to have a case where a sewing needle is stuck in a pet’s mouth like this. I’ve certainly never had a case like it.
"Somehow little Nala had managed to eat a tiny sewing needle which became stuck in a rather unusual position. It had travelled through the hard palate and was pointing upwards into her head.
"The needle wasn’t visible from the mouth so we guided an endoscope, which is like a mini camera on a tube, into the back of the throat and nasal cavity and could see the needle going up through there."
She said the combination of Nala's size and where the needle was, as well as how small the needle was, made the surgery "especially fiddly".
"Using a tiny pair of forceps, we then grasped the needle and carefully pulled it downwards, ensuring we maintained the same trajectory throughout so it didn’t snap," she added.
"It was very tricky but very successful. The needle was removed safely and Nala was bright and happy when she was discharged the following day.
"When she subsequently came back for her post-operative check-up, she was doing very well indeed so we’re all delighted."
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