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Dash, a two year-old Border Collie, had been out chasing a stick during a trip to the park with his owners. When they returned home, his humans noticed he seemed "upset" and was refusing his food.
They quickly took him to Animal Referral Centre in Baulkham Hills, Sydney, where vets worked out the pain was coming from Dash's throat and the back of his neck.
"After being sedated, our team discovered he had a penetrating wound to the right side of the base of his tongue and they could feel a hard foreign body (believed to be a large stick) along the peri-laryngeal area to the thoracic inlet," the vets shared on Facebook.
After being assessed, Dash was transferred to the Animal Referral Centre in Homebush where surgeons worked hard to remove the huge stick. X-rays of the poor pooch show just how deeply it was embedded before it was taken out.
"Typically the enthusiasm of the average 'stick-chaser' is their downfall," specialist Surgeon Dr David Simpson spoke to news.com.au about the incident.
"The dog runs to retrieve the stick with great energy and if the stick lands end-on just as the dog catches up with it, the forward momentum of the dog will force the stick through the back of the dog's throat or under the tongue," he said.
"Dash was lucky the stick stopped just inside the chest and it didn't puncture the heart or lungs. Dash was also lucky we were able to find the stick and removed it and the many small bark fragments that split off it.
While Dash made a full recovery after his surgery, Dr Simpson said other dogs he's treated haven't been quite as lucky.
He explained other sticks can act as a huge splinter and create "ongoing abscesses and discharging infections until the foreign material and the bacteria associated with it are eventually removed."
Best stick to the tennis balls in future, then.
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