Nellie is a 5 year old terrier cross who loves running around on her walks. After one walk though she seemed down and unable eat, despite appearing keen to. Her eyes were watering and she just wasn’t right. When she came in to see us she was somewhat reluctant to let us have a good look inside her mouth. Given her history though it seemed most likely that there was a physical reason for her symptoms and so we admitted her for sedation.
Under sedation we could see a 2mm wide hole right at the back of her mouth and what looked like a small piece of stick stuck inside. This took a rather delicate approach to remove it as there is a large artery running very nearby! By gently extending the hole and then using a needle to slowly ease the stick out we managed to remove it, flush the hole and then stitch it together to prevent any food going in, mouths aren’t the easiest area to keep clean after all!
Nellie had some pain relief at the time and antibiotics to go home with and was soon feeling back to normal and eating well.
We’ll never know exactly how Nellie got her injury as she’s not one for chewing sticks or playing with them but sometimes this can happen while running through the undergrowth. We’d never stop dogs doing this and so occasional, unavoidable, accidents like Nellie’s can happen. However, you can reduce the risk by discouraging your dog from chewing sticks and especially not throwing sticks for them to fetch. Sadly, it is far too common for a dog to look up to catch a stick and it can go through the back of the throat, even sometimes entering the chest. Specially designed toys are much safer.