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Don’t throw sticks for dogs, vet warns

Black Labrador lying on floor dog-wow
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Playing stick is a favourite pastime of dogs and their owners but one couple’s horrific experience may make it something to be avoided.

By Nick Whittle , 13 May 2019

Pauline and Pete Cook were walking along a woodland path with their dog Corona. The dog saw a 6-inch long stick and began to chew it. Instinctively the Cooks and their dog had a game of tug-of-war.

Corona won the tug of war but at a terrible cost. The stick shot down the dog's throat and ripped open her oesophagus (the food pipe). However, other than their hearing an odd noise from the dog’s throat at the time, the Cooks continued on their way oblivious to injuries their dog had sustained.

Arriving home Corona started to show signs of illness. She was less active than normal and not interested in food. When she began to vomit blood in the evening the Cooks knew something was wrong.

They rushed her to Blue Cross in Grimsby where X-rays found evidence of an internal injury. However, vets could not determine exactly what the problem was. 

Shocking discovery

The dog was instead referred to Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The on-call vet took a CT scan of the dog and discovered that the stick had not only lodged in the animal’s throat but had ruptured the oesophagus.

Vet Mickey Tivers immediately operated on Corona. He knew that to wait any longer would be fatal to the animal who was now clearly suffering with blood loss and shock.

Dr Tivers has since urged dog owners to be extra vigilant when out on walks. He also advises against throwing sticks or playing tug-of-war. The injuries he has seen over the years have been horrific and often fatal.

He told the Metro: ‘Corona suffered a very nasty injury from the stick. ‘It was very serious, as the oesophagus does not always heal well and there was significant risk of infection.’

He explained that the problem with a smallish stick is its ability to change its angle inside the dog.If the stick becomes lodged under tension it can easily pierce the lining of the stomach. Fragments of stick can also cause nasty infections to develop weeks after the dog has come into contact with the object.

Corona was admitted for eight days following the operation.

The Metro later quoted Mrs Cook as saying: ‘She has recovered so well. She has probably calmed down a little bit after her op, as she was very, very lively before, but she is still running around after balls and stealing socks.’

Warning: the following operation video can be quite disturbing to some viewers.


⚠️ GRAPHIC CONTENT ⚠️ ? The moment a piece of wood the size of a large cigar was removed from the oesophagus of a Labrador retriever puppy by vets at Paragon Veterinary Referrals. Full story:

Posted by Vet Times on Thursday, May 9, 2019