Dog owner warns fetching sticks could kill pets after close call

Dougie the Cocker Spaniel sits'. A dog owner nearly lost their pet after it nearly died from swallowing a stick. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Dougie the Cocker Spaniel sits'. A dog owner nearly lost their pet after it nearly died from swallowing a stick. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
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A pet owner is warning of the dangers of throwing sticks for dogs after her Sprocker Spaniel swallowed one and nearly died.

Two-year-old Ebi only survived after an operation, blood transfusions, treatment for life-threatening sepsis and a week in intensive care, at a total cost of £10,000.

She suffered the “sword-swallower” injury when the stick ripped a hole in her oesophagus and narrowly missed two arteries.

Owner Nicola Elliott, from Perth, is warning of the dangers.

She said: “Ebi had been zooming about off lead like a typical spaniel when she ran up to me with a stick. I didn’t think anything of it and threw it. She chased after it and the next thing I head a yelp and she collapsed instantly to the floor.

“She nearly died in my arms. She has been through the most hideous time and we want to raise awareness of the danger of sticks to dogs.”

The accident happened on 14 June, and despite fears that she would not survive Ebi was allowed home last week.

At the time Ms Elliott could not see where Ebi was injured, but knew she was in need of urgent treatment and rushed her to Tay Valley Vets in Perth.

“I was about a quarter mile from the car and I had to carry her back,” she said.

“I didn’t know it at the time but she was literally dying in my arms. Her head was just hanging over my arm.”

At the surgery vet Rebecca Manson quickly established that the stick had gone down Ebi’s throat and after initially being treated in Perth, the dog was rushed to the Royal Dick veterinary school, Edinburgh.

There a CT scan established that the stick had gone through Ebi’s flesh until it reached her armpit, with a rib deflecting it away from her heart and lungs. She underwent surgery and spent a week in intensive care.

Now home, she has a 40cm scar down her front and could have continuing liver problems due to the sepsis.

Ms Elliott has now set up a Facebook page to raise awareness of the dangers of sticks and prevent any other owner undergoing the same ordeal.

Royal Dick surgeon Jon Hall said the school treats around six cases of stick injury a year, although as they only see the most serious injuries the true figure is much higher.

He said: “I think Ebi was lucky to survive. There were two occasions where she could have gone either way - first with the blood loss and then with the infection.”