If your pet has a stick lodged DO NOT pull it or remove it unless it is causing great distress or breathing problems. Keep your pet as calm as possible and transport them to a vet. If the injury is severe, contact the vet clinic to advise them of your arrival.
Using a stick to play fetch with a dog is lots of fun but it is actually quite dangerous for your pet. We see many stick injuries at Animal Emergency Service due the outdoor lifestyle we enjoy in Queensland. Stick injuries can occur in your pet’s mouth, throat and body. We’ve seen them all. The sticks often bounce off the ground (or object) lodging themselves in the unlucky pup. In some instances, impaled sticks cause death.
Less obvious injuries also occur when pets chew or eat sticks. Splinters break off and lodge themselves in the mouth or throat causing varying degrees of discomfort. This injury often occurs when the pet is unsupervised so early detection of symptoms is important. These symptoms can include pawing at the mouth, excess salivation, no appetite, or other signs of discomfort.
Treatment of stick injuries will vary depending on severity. Most patients require sedation to remove the stick with the most severe requiring surgery. Pain relief and antiobiotics to avoid infection are often needed as well.
The safest bet is avoiding playing fetch with sticks and distracting your pet if they show an interest in them. Has your pet been admitted to AES with a stick injury? Share your story and photos on our Facebook page.
Written by Solange Newton