Chantry veterinary practice is warning owners not to throw sticks for dogs after a family pet suffered an horrific injury.
Much-loved pooch Buster was enjoying a walk with his owner when he became impaled on a stick after jumping up to catch it in his mouth.
It pierced his groin, narrowly missing a main artery, and he needed an emergency operation at Chantry Vets in Alverthorpe, Wakefield, to remove the stick.
Veterinary staff at Chantry Vets have seen several life-threatening injuries to dogs caused by fetching sticks, and the practice is urging dog owners not to throw them when walking their pet.
Vet Ryan Lotter, who treated Buster, said: “Buster was extremely lucky as the stick missed his abdomen and his femoral artery, but there was a worry it was near his spinal cord.
“We see a fair amount of stick injuries in the throat or mouth, but this incident was unusual.
“Dogs suffer two main types of injuries from sticks. One is when a stick is thrown and lands in the ground like a javelin and a dog runs on to it and impales itself. The other involves splinters from chewed sticks penetrating the mouth and throat, causing infections.
“We don’t want to stop people having fun with their pet, but it is much safer to use a suitable toy.”
Buster’s owners, Becky and Andrew Ashman, from Hunslet, are urging other dog lovers not to throw sticks for their pets to retrieve after the injury to their three-year-old Patterdale x Staffie, who they have owned since he was a puppy.
Becky said: “My husband had thrown the stick a few times and Buster is such a bouncy dog that he jumped up and when he came down back down the stick went into his groin.
“He yelped and Andy ended up carrying him home. He is quite hairy so we couldn’t see anything, there was no blood and he was still wagging his tail, so we didn’t know how severe the injury was.
“He was limping and when I stroked him, I realised the stick was still inside him. He is a family pet and we are relieved he is now fine, thanks to the care he received at Chantry Vets.”
Becky added: “Sticks are now banned when we take Buster for walks and I’m worried about letting him off the lead in case he picks one up.
“Like many dog owners, we’ve thrown sticks many times for him, but it only takes that one time for an accident to happen.”