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Stick Injuries in Dogs
20 May 2016
Spring is in the air; now the mornings and evenings are getting lighter many of us will be increasing our own activity levels as well as that of our canine friends. It might be a stroll in the woods, playing ball in the park or throwing a stick for the dog. They all sound like innocent fun – and in a lot of cases will be – but many owners are unaware of the danger that sticks pose for their dogs.
Injuries are all too often seen in veterinary practice as a result of dogs retrieving sticks. These include oral, pharyngeal (throat), neck, chest and abdominal wounds. The most severe types of injury tend to occur when sticks are thrown and get stuck in the ground at an angle; enthusiastic dogs can then run at full speed onto them. Sticks can splinter in the mouth and lead to persistent infection and abscessation or, worse, can penetrate further in the oral cavity and pharynx (throat) causing extensive damage and even in some cases tearing of the trachea (wind pipe) or oesophagus. The Specialist soft tissue surgeons here at Willows regularly have cases referred to them by other vets for advanced imaging e.g. CT scanning to locate pieces of stick, assess the damage and try to safely remove them – which is an indication of how complicated these cases can be.
There are many safe alternatives to sticks, so if your dog loves to collect sticks or indeed catch them, please use a safe one to avoid such an injury.
See our stick news stories: