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What is Brown and Sticky?

What is Brown and Sticky?

The answer is, of course, A STICK!

Throwing sticks for dogs to chase is a popular pastime. There are some rules that need to be followed, however.

  • Please do not use sticks with thorns or too spiky twigs on them.
  • Use a stick appropriate to your dog’s size.
  • Throw the stick in a safe manner! Always throw the stick by skimming it horizontally over the ground, like a Frisbee or discus. NEVER throw a stick along its vertical axis as it may stick into the ground and cause injury to the dog following at speed behind it.

The “Run Onto Stick Injury” ( ROSI) is a very common and very avoidable injury as Indi discovered while playing ‘chase the stick’ on the beach with his owners.

Here is what generally happens. The owner selects a long and sturdy stick to throw. The excited dog begs for the owner to throw the stick again and again, further and harder. The dog pounds after the wet, slobbery stick at high speed.

Then tragedy ensues: The stick lands in the ground sticking out like an Olympic javelin thrower’s medal-winning throw. The dog travelling at high sped races up to the stick, that has now become a spear (or medieval anti-horse device) mouth agape & legs a-thundering, too fast to stop and too fast to avoid the spear. You can picture the end result.

Indi was brought into the clinic in severe pain, lame & going into shock. The end of the stick was nowhere in sight! Fortunately the owners were able to relate the whole story to our vet, Alan. Sticks do not show up well on x-rays so finding them can be very difficult. Indi is a large Bull Mastiff with a huge mouth and (happily) a neck with space for a few extra items.

It took some diligent searching by the very worried Alan, to find the relatively small and now sealed entry hole. This was cleverly hidden underneath, and at the back, of Indi’s large, spongy tongue. Careful probing and manipulation showed Alan that the long, fortunately smooth, stick had penetrated the soft tissue at the back of the mouth and ( amazingly without damaging any nerves or blood vessels, bones or organs ) had thrust its way through to Indi’s shoulder joint. No wonder he was in screaming pain whenever the sharp end of the stick was moved, scraping against the bone and joint.

The stick was carefully removed and supportive treatment started for the sad dog. Happily, despite the high risk of infection and nerve damage due to bruising ( plus the possibility of damaged windpipe & foodpipe) Indi has made a full recovery. Many dogs are not so lucky and die shortly after from overwhelming infection, pneumonia or   inability to swallow food. Others, of course, die at the scene of the ROSI from suffocation, or bleed out from the tearing of a neck artery.

So, always think carefully what you are throwing for your dog and how you are using it. Just like children, dogs can be killed by their toys.

Please do not stop playing with your dogs, they love it and need it. Just proceed with care to avoid those ‘sticky” situations that we would rather not see.