Sticks…A Cautionary Tale!


There’s many a dog that has a passion for sticks, some will go and find their own and drag it around with them regardless of its size. Others will expectantly wait, wide-eyed, full of anticipation for you to throw it for them. To chase, to fetch, to do it all over again, thats the game, that’s what they’ve been waiting all day to do. We, along with the help of Jake, would ask you to think twice – as tempting as it might be, as wide as those pleeding eyes are, throw a ball or toy instead. DON’T THROW STICKS, THE CONSEQUENCES CAN BE DISASTEROUS – as Jake’s story will demonstrate.

Jake was enjoying his walk as usual, getting excited about the prospect of having sticks thrown for him to chase. His owner did not want to disappoint and picked up a suitable branch. It was flung high into the air and Jake chased eagerly, keen to please his owner and demonstrate his atheletic prowess. He leapt up and caught one end of the stick in his mouth in a medal-worthy display of gymnastic ability. However,  on landing, he could not control the other end of the stick, which hit the ground before he did. Planting itself firming in the soil, Jake’s momentum then jammed the rest of the stick through the back of his throat, where it became stuck.


Jake was rushed to see our vet Helen at Pool House Hospital. The severity of his injury was quickly apparent. One end of the stick was visible in his mouth, whilst the other could easily be seen and felt under the skin half way down his neck. The blunt stick had torn through the tonsillar crypt at the side of his throat and pushed its way through the muscles of the pharynx and neck to appear just under the skin, narrowly missing major blood vessels and nerves!


Helen had to take Jake straight to theatre for an emergency operation. The stick was removed through an incision over the neck, taking care not to damage any veins, arteries or nerves. The large deep hole that remained was flushed of bark and wood debris and left to heal.

Thankfully, Jake made a full recovery, but it could have been far worse. Only few millimetres difference and the outcome could have been very different.

Jake doesn’t play with sticks anymore – he’s learnt that a ball is just as much fun and far safer.



Pool House Vets