A Cheshire vet has issued an urgent warning to dog owners about the dangers of throwing sticks for their pets after treating an alarming injury in a young Labrador which required emergency care.

Eight-week-old Brodie was referred to Linnaeus-owned Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS), in Runcorn, after getting a stick lodged deep in his throat while playing in the garden.

The poorly pup needed three days’ intensive care to deal with breathing difficulties caused by significant swelling at the back of his throat – and the stick had penetrated so deeply into his mouth that it scraped off the surface of his voicebox.

Fortunately, the swift care provided by his local emergency clinic combined with expert support from NWVS’s clinical director Prue Neath, a specialist in small animal surgery, enabled the much-loved pet to make a full recovery.

Prue said: “Brodie was called by his owner and as he was running towards them, the stick he had in his mouth hit a grassy bank, forcing it deep into his throat.

“The following day he was suffering from breathing difficulties and gagging, and an examination revealed extensive swelling of the back of his throat. The emergency clinic had to place a tracheotomy tube as his throat was becoming obstructed by swelling.

“He was transferred to our care the following day and fortunately, a CT scan confirmed there were no signs of the stick tearing through the wall of Brodie’s throat. This meant extensive surgery could be avoided and we were able to place a feeding tube through the side of his neck.

“Brodie was hospitalised for three days for high-dependency care including oxygen, tracheotomy tube care, IV fluids, tube-feeding and multiple medications. Happily, further examinations showed the swelling had resolved and the voice box was healing well.

“Following his check-up, Brodie is now doing extremely well and is full of mischief!”

Prue said that despite the happy ending for Brodie, the case was an example of why owners should try and avoid letting their dogs play with sticks.

“Clearly exercise is essential for a dog’s physical health and mental wellbeing, but it should be both good fun and safe play,” she said.

“Sticks present a host of dangers, ranging from being impaled on one that’s become stuck in the ground, damage to the mouth, throat and stomach from catching and inadvertently swallowing sticks and also from infections caused by penetrating fragments of wood.

“We’re advising all our dog owners to use dog-safe toys as alternatives to sticks to minimise the risk of some of the dramatic cases we’ve seen here recently.”

Northwest Veterinary Specialists provides specialist referral services to veterinary practices in North West England and North and Mid-Wales.

For more information, visit www.nwspecialists.com or search for Northwest Veterinary Specialists on social media.

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