NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, England — A springer spaniel needed life-saving surgery after a game of fetch went wrong and a 12-inch stick got lodged in her throat.
Nicola Botham threw sticks for her beloved dog Sammie after forgetting her ball on their walk last month.
Disaster struck when the 11-year-old pooch swallowed the lengthy twig, which reached as far as her shoulders.
Luckily vets were able to operate and remove the dangerous piece of wood, but Nicola has vowed never to throw another stick for Sammie again.
She said, “I had stupidly forgotten the ball and Sammie just kept running back and forth wanting me to play, so I threw a stick for her.
“We were lucky, but I want to warn other dog owners about the dangers of throwing sticks – I will never throw one again.
“Sammie on the other hand doesn’t seem to have learned from the experience, on her next walk the first thing she did was pick up a stick.
“I took it straight off her and threw her a ball instead.”
Nicola, of Newcastle Under Lyme, UK, didn’t think anything was wrong when Sammie returned without the stick she’d thrown for her during their walk.
But panic stuck when they got home. Sammie’s eyes became dilated and she started shaking.
Nicola saw blood coming out of her mouth so rushed her to the vet, where shocked staff discovered the stick lodged along her jawline and down into her shoulder.
They told Nicola to ‘prepare for the worst,’ but after an emergency two-hour operation, it was removed and Sammie pulled through without any lasting injuries.
Nicola added, “It was the worst few hours of my life, but they rang me several times with updates, and then I got the call to say the operation had been a success and Sammie was recovering.
“They had managed to get the stick out without causing any internal damage and I was able to collect her that night.
“Once I got Sammie home, she got back onto the sofa and never moved.
“For three days she was drooling heavily and there was some bleeding, but the painkillers and antibiotics helped and by day four she was almost back to her old self.”
Staff at White Cross Vets said it was the longest stick injury they’d ever treated in a dog.
Vet Amy Gaines warned dog owners not to throw sticks for their pooches in the future.
She said: “If a dog runs into a stick at an angle it can pierce through soft tissues and also shatter and splint on impact.”
“As well as injuring their mouth, sticks can also pierce their chest and abdomen if they run into it.”
“Playing with sticks is a bad idea, and it can also encourage dogs to chew on them, which ends up with them swallowing splinters, which can lead to infection.”
“We know dogs love to play fetch, but the best approach is to use a suitable ball or toy and never a stick.”
The president of the British Veterinary Association has also warned dog owners they could cause their pets horrific injuries if they play fetch with sticks.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld and Jessi Rexroad Shull
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