The stick Corona the Lab swallowed punctured the dog's esophagus

By Kelli Bender
May 15, 2019 04:38 PM
dog swallows stick
Credit: Paragon Veterinary Referrals

Sometimes it is the simplest things that are the most dangerous.

Dr. Mickey Tavers of Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield, England, is warning dog owners not to play fetch with sticks, after performing an emergency surgery on a Labrador retriever who swallowed a cigar-sized of wood.

According to Paragon Veterinary Referrals, Coronoa the “lively,” year-old Lab was on a walk in the woods with her owners, Pauline and Pete Cook, when she picked up a bit of stick and swallowed the object whole.

The Cooks heard Corona make a “horrific noise,” after swallowing the stick, but couldn’t find anything wrong with her. It wasn’t until the Lab started vomiting up blood later that evening that the couple knew their pet needed help. They rushed Corona to their local veterinarian, who referred the family to Paragon. At Paragon, the vet team performed a CT and discovered that the ingested stick had punctured Corona’s esophagus and travelled down the dog’s neck.

dog swallows stick
Credit: Paragon Veterinary Referrals

Without intervention, Corona could’ve died from the damage caused by the stick. Luckily, the dog was rushed into surgery, where Dr. Tavers was able to successful remove the stick and repair the damage to Corona’s esophagus

“Stick injuries are not uncommon and can be very serious indeed. If the stick lands at the right angle, dogs can easily impale themselves and fragments of stick can remain in the neck which can lead to abscesses forming weeks or even months later,” Dr. Tavers said in a statement about the dangers sticks pose to pets.

To prevent “nasty” injuries like Corona’s, the veterinarian suggests using store-bought toys when playing with your dog.

dog swallows stick
Credit: Paragon Veterinary Referrals

“Our advice would be never to throw sticks for your dog as there is a real risk of injury. We would encourage owners to throw balls or other toys, or rubber sticks, which make an excellent alternative to their dangerous wooden counterparts,” she added.

Corona stayed at Paragon for eight days following her operation to recover from the stick injury. She is now back at home, where she has “calmed down a little bit,” according to the dog’s owner Pauline Cook, but she is still a big fan of running around and playing with her family.

Cook says that she is “overjoyed” that Corona survived her near-death experience, and credits Dr. Tavers’ compassionate care for the canine’s quick recovery.

“We will never throw a stick for her again,” Cook said.