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The Labrador And The Fishhook - An Unbelievable Story

posted Jun 23, 2010, 6:33 PM by Angela G
[cross-posted from Dr. Jon's Dog Crazy Newsletter]

With summer weather comes a variety of "hazards". Some you just don't expect. That was the case with Lucy.

Lucy is a "city dog". When she came back inside from their fenced-in yard, she was licking her lips and drooling like crazy. Lucy's owner saw a string coming from inside her mouth.  Lucy was pawing at her mouth. They tried to look inside but she would not let them. She just kept tossing her head from side to side and crying.

Fortunately they did not pull on the string. Smart owners!

They immediately put Lucy into the car and brought her to the clinic. She was miserable.  Lucy was pawing at her mouth and crying, and the string was still dangling out of her mouth. I did a quick exam and I could see a fishhook stuck in the dog's lip.  It was a treble hook.

Fishhooks are tricky because they have a barb at the end - you can't pull them out the same way they went in. And they HURT. The best way to get a fishhook out of the lip is to push the barb through whatever area it is stuck in and then cut off the barb. 

Lucy was going crazy so we had to sedate her. I talked to her owner and they gave us permission. We sedated Lucy and numbed the outside of her lip. I dug in my toolbox, got my pliers and went to work.

The fishhook came out. We carefully cleaned the wound and before long Lucy was awake and ready to go home. Her owner wanted to keep the mysterious hook. They joked that it was the "golden fishhook. They had no idea where it came from because they didn't fish. They had NO idea how it got into their yard, but this mysterious fish hook was costing them big bucks for emergency care, sedation, procedures and antibiotics. So they called it the "golden fishhook".

Lucy's owners were happy that she was fine, but in the end this little unexpected emergency cost them $446.

If you fish, be aware that the bait you use to catch fish is also tempting to your pet. Many dogs and cats have eaten bait - along with the hook and line. Some pets can also step on a hook and it becomes embedded in the skin.
 If your dog swallows a fish hook, the most important thing to remember is NOT TO PULL THE LINE. This will result in setting of the hook and increasing the chance that your pet will require surgery to remove it. Tie the line to your pet's collar to prevent him from swallowing more of the line and contact your vet immediately.

Every day or two, it is a good idea to walk the perimeter of your yard. Look for sharp wires in the fence, nails, glass, trash or anything unusual that could harm your dog.

With a little extra caution, summertime can be an enjoyable time of the year for both you and your dog.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon