Monday, July 31, 2006

Not to Be a Stick in the Mud, But…

I was at the park the other day and a lady arrived with a bouncy Cocker Spaniel. My heart sank as she picked up a stick and threw it for her beloved pooch to retrieve. You may think this is the best way to spend an afternoon – throwing a stick for your dog – but I can only see it as a potential road to disaster.

Stick injuries to the mouths and throats of dogs are a nightmare for the dog, for the vet and for the owner. The most basic and common injury is getting the stick caught on the roof of the mouth, between the upper teeth. This happens if the stick isn’t longer than the dog’s mouth or, more often, if the dog bites down too hard and breaks the stick, lodging the broken piece at the top of the mouth. A more serious injury occurs when the stick goes into the back of the mouth and the sharp end penetrates the lining of the pharynx. Often, even once the stick is removed, bits of bark or other foreign material can be left behind. It is extremely difficult to clean these wounds, even with the animal under anaesthetic and if any material is left behind it can cause inflammation (aka a foreign body reaction) or abscessation.

I treated one patient while at university whose oesophagus had been penetrated by the stick. It had to be referred to us at the university hospital for specialist surgery and ICU care during his recovery.

Another dog we treated at the local surgery had to have multiple anaesthetics to remove all of the bark that had become imbedded in his pharynx.

May I suggest rather than a stick, that a Frisbee, a bit of thick rope, or a sturdy rubber toy be employed to exercise your dog and that you leave the sticks for some one else.


At May 20, 2017 at 6:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger sparkl plenti said...

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