Dr. Wright and I both have over 10 years of experience being vets. We’ve both worked in emergency hospitals, and we’ve both seen our fair share of crazy things. It takes quite a bit to rile us up. Usually, when a receptionist or technician lets us know that there’s an emergency coming in, we’ve dealt with the problem before. Sometimes, what’s coming in is a new experience or a big twist on an old theme. In the past 2 weeks, we’ve had that happen twice.
The first case was a dog with a fishhook. That’s nothing special — happens all the time. The hook usually ends up in the lip or the tongue, which is easy to deal with. A quick pop of anesthesia, push the hook through, cut it off, and you’re done.
This one? Not so easy! We had a bit of line coming out of the dog’s mouth with no hook in sight. I decided it must be partway down the throat, which is still reasonably easy to retrieve. We took an x-ray to confirm. I was wrong. The hook and swivel attachment were in the stomach.
After discussing the possibility for using an endoscope to retrieve the hook, the owner opted to have us retrieve it from the stomach surgically. As it turns out, this was the right way to go. Though I didn’t know it at the time we started surgery, this dog had swallowed the hook, then tried to run on the dock. The line and fishing pole were enough weight to set the hook in the stomach. What should have been a simple hook retrieval turned into quite an ordeal. Definitely not one of the simpler surgeries that I’ve completed.
We did all right, though! The dog has made a good recovery and shouldn’t be any worse for the wear. Moral of the story: keep your dog away from fishing tackle.
The second case is quite a bit more shocking. We’re all familiar with the usual risks for small dogs. They have problems with dental disease, heart disease, back injuries, and higher risk for injuries from jumps and so on. What doesn’t always occur to us is the risk of a dog becoming prey for a larger wild species. Hawks are a prime example of this kind of risk.
A very small dog was outside in the yard with the owner. He heard a scream and turned to see a large hawk standing on his dog. He managed to scare the hawk away, scooped up his dog and raced to the hospital.
Dr. Wright was able to stabilize the poor little dog. He didn’t have any immediately life-threatening injuries, but one eye had been badly damaged by a claw or beak. We sent him to the emergency hospital for overnight monitoring and aggressive pain control. Even if the eye can’t be saved, this little dog should recover fully. Moral of the story: Keep a -close- watch on your small dogs when you’re out in the yard. Even in the suburbs, there are potentially dangerous predators nearby.
See you in two weeks!