A young Staffordshire bull terrier dodged death after an 11-inch stick became lodged in her throat when a game of fetch went disastrously wrong.
PDSA vets say it was a miracle the stick avoided major arteries as it pierced through one-year-old Brandy’s mouth, travelled through her throat and ended up in her chest.
Owner Sophia-Jayne Lye, said Brandy was playing with her daughter Soe, 22, at their home in Shooters Hill, London, when she suddenly heard screaming.
She said: “I was inside when I heard Soe screaming. I rushed out and saw Brandy lying there with a huge stick coming out of her chest. It was unbelievable. Luckily she was still breathing but I knew we needed to get her help urgently.”
They took Brandy to PDSA’s Thamesmead Pet Hospital, where vets rushed the stricken dog in for surgery to remove the stick.
PDSA Pet Hospital Lead, Laura Davey, said it was one of the worst stick injuries she’s ever seen:
“When we saw Brandy’s injury, we couldn’t believe she was still alive. It was a huge stick and it had travelled right through her mouth and throat and into her chest, narrowly missing her lungs.”
Owner Sophia-Jayne said the family endured a tense wait while Brandy spent nearly four hours under anaesthetic having surgery.
She added: “I thought initially she wouldn’t make it. The prognosis wasn’t good and the vets told us to expect the worst.
“But amazingly, Brandy made it through surgery and PDSA did a fantastic job as she has now made a full recovery! We’re immensely grateful and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done.”
The stick had travelled between two major arteries, missing them by a matter of millimetres. During the lengthy operation, the vet team had to use many litres of saline to flush the wound clean and flush tiny dangerous splinters from the site.
PDSA vets say the incident underlines how dangerous throwing sticks for dogs can be. On average, the vet charity sees stick-related injuries on a weekly basis, across its 48 pet hospitals. Injuries include wounds to the mouth and throat, choking and intestinal blockages.
Laura added: “The most serious injuries tend to occur when a dog runs into a stick that has become lodged in the ground after being thrown, and the dog becomes impaled.
“We don’t want people to stop exercising their pets or even playing fetch, but we want pet owners to use safer alternatives to sticks, such as a dog-safe ball or rubber safe-stick.
“Brandy was incredibly lucky; if the stick had hit an artery it would have been fatal. She was also fortunate to benefit from our lifesaving A&E service, which has received fantastic support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We were able to remove the stick and she went on to make a full recovery. Sadly, not all dogs with injuries like this get such a happy ending.”
PDSA receives no government funding and is reliant on public support to run the service, which costs more than £60 million every year. For more tips and advice on keeping your pet healthy and happy, visit www.pdsa.org.uk