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When Sticks Get Stuck!

Posted 01.21.20 by Reagan Bugg, DVM

My dog chews on sticks all the time. What’s the big deal?

We always worry about foreign objects and getting stuck in places they don’t belong. Usually, we think of things like swallowing a sock or a rock and it getting stuck somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. That is always an emergency and we recommend a check with your regular veterinarian as soon as possible to make sure surgery isn’t required! However, not all foreign objects get stuck in the stomach.

Meet Harley!

Harley is a one and a half year old Husky mix. She loves to play and chew on everything and is a happy girl. Unfortunately, she was playing in the back yard and came inside acting funny. Her parents finally to take a peek in her mouth and were shocked! She managed to get a large stick wedged in her mouth. She tried and tried to get it out herself with no success and so did her parents, so she finally came in to see us for help.

Before: “How’d that get there?”

Harley’s stick was wedged in so well that it was not able to be removed with a simple grasp. Instead, we gave her some mild sedation with pain medication so that she could snooze while we worked on it. Using rongeurs, we carefully removed the stick wedged between her upper premolars.

After: “Looks worse but feels much better!”

One removed, we cleaned the area thoroughly and debrided any infected or dead tissue. Harley went home on anti-inflammatory pain medication as well as broad spectrum antibiotics to prevent infection. Over time, her mouth will granulate in and she will be good as new! It is always important to check in the mouth whenever a dog or cat is acting funny…you never know what might be in there!

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