It is common practice to throw sticks for energetic dogs to catch, chew and play with. Unfortunately, this can cause severe trauma to the mouth, possibly the food pipe and also to the chest. Damage can be immediate (e.g. if the stick tears at the mouth or tongue causing bleeding) or can lead to chronic illness (e.g. from splinters of wood and germs getting stuck in the body leading to severe infection).
- Excessive drooling – may be bloody
- Difficulty swallowing
- Panting, difficulty breathing
- Decreased appetite
- Swelling in the neck region.
Early assessment and treatment of oral stick injuries is of utmost importance to prevent severe life threatening complications, both in the acute (immediate) and chronic (long term) phases.
If your pet has the above signs, or a stick lodged in its throat, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Emergency Treatment before Transport to a Veterinarian
If the stick is lodged in your pets throat/mouth, try to avoid pulling it out unless it is causing distress or breathing problems. Try to keep your pet calm, and transport it to a veterinarian immediately
If the stick is not lodged, collect the pieces and bring them to your veterinarian for inspection – it can give some indication of the severity of injury
What to Expect at the Vet
Oxygen therapy – if your pet is having difficulty breathing
IV fluid therapy – to support blood pressure when blood loss causes shock
Sedation or anaesthesia if indicated – to remove the stick if lodged, assess the extent of the damage (endoscopy may be used for this), and facilitate removal of foreign material
Radiographs (x-rays) – to see if the food pipe or chest is damaged
Surgery may be required to repair severe damage or to retrieve the stick fragments
Intravenous medication – antibiotics and pain relief
Stick injuries can be life threatening if the chest has been penetrated and if the heart or blood vessels have been cut. When stick fragments are left behind they are often difficult to find as they do not show up on radiographs. Often specialised imaging (CT scan or CAT scan) is required to identify fragments and major surgery may be required to remove them.
Prevention is the best form of treatment in this circumstance. We do not recommend throwing, playing with, or chewing of sticks due to the severe injuries they can cause. In the long run, it is a lot safer and less costly to purchase toys specifically designed for your pet. Ask your local Vet Clinic or pet store for recommendations.
The cheapest “stick” alternative is a rolled up newspaper that has been taped together.
WA Emergency Vets - Donate Blood ...
Career Opportunities At PVE
Veterinary Career Opportunity
Found A Baby Bird?
Restraining Dogs In Cars
What Is Vestibular Disease In Pets?
Can I Give My Dog Panadol?
Garfield Wounded From A Cat Fight
Cats With Cat Fight Wounds
Cats Wanted For the PVE Blood Don...
Emergency Planning For Perth’s ...
The Patients Of Perth Vet Emergency
Dogs And New Years Eve Fireworks
Lucky The Golden Retriever Was Lu...
Chihuahua Visits PVE With A Close...
Corneal Ulcers In Pets
Bernie Treated For Rat Bait Poiso...
Rottweiler Visits Emergency After...
Grape, Sultana And Raisin Toxicit...
Patient Testimonials 2016
Cat Owner Articles
Penis Injuries In Dogs
How To Give Ear Medication To You...
Dogs Afraid Of Thunder
Kidney Stones In Pets
Lilies Are Very Toxic To Cats
Dogs That Can’t Swim
Brachycephalic Dogs And Cats
Stray Cat Reunited With Owner
Antifreeze Toxicity And Pets
Kidney Failure In Pets
Red Heeler Presents With Kidney F...
Blood Donors Save Newfoundland’...
How To Bottle Feed A Kitten
What Is Pet Ventilation?
Some Fun With Our Pet Census 2016
Possum Needs Veterinary Help Afte...
After Hours Veterinarians In Perth
Lithium Batteries Are Very Danger...
What Is A Pet Ultrasound?
Does My Rabbit Have GI Stasis?
GI Stasis Troubles A Dwarf Lop R...
Siberian Husky Has A Stomach Full...
Bronson Saves Pets Lives By Donat...
Patient Testimonial: Beccy Moreton
How To Perform CPR
Heat Stroke - The Symptoms In Pets
Pets And Toxins
Rat Bait Is Very Dangerous For Pets
What To Do If Your Dog Has A Bloa...
Pets Eyes And Medical Emergencies
Stick Injuries And Pets
My Pet Is Vomiting
Broken Legs Or Penetrating Wounds
What To Do If Your Pet Drinks Sea...
My Pet Has Eaten Chocolate
Pet Has Eaten Snail Pellets
My Pet Is Having A Seizure
Pets With Head Traumas
What To Do If Your Pet Nearly Dro...
My Pet Has Eaten A Blowfish
Pets Bitten By Snakes
Pets With Insect Bites Or Stings
Advice For Pets Having Trouble Gi...
Whelping Dogs And Milk Fever
Cat Twitching After Flea Treatment
A Small List Of Non Toxic Plants ...
Transporting Your Sick Or Injured...
Pet Trauma Symptoms And Advice
Thanks For Completing Pet Census ...