The owners of a lively labrador puppy who needed life-saving surgery after swallowing a large stick have praised "the most impressive vet ever" who carried out the emergency operation.
One-year-old Corona swallowed the object, which was the size of a large cigar, while out walking in the woods with her owners Pauline and Pete Cook.
After a trip to her local vets, Corona was immediately referred to Paragon Veterinary Referrals, in Wakefield, where a CT scan revealed the stick had punctured her oesophagus and travelled a considerable distance down her neck.
She was immediately operated on by Mickey Tivers, head of surgery at Paragon, who removed the stick and repaired the damage to her oesophagus.
Mickey said the case highlighted the potential dangers of throwing sticks for dogs.
He said: “Corona suffered a very nasty injury from the stick. It was very serious, as the oesophagus does not always heal well and there was significant risk of infection.
“Stick injuries are not uncommon and can be very serious indeed. If the stick lands at the right angle, dogs can easily impale themselves and fragments of stick can remain in the neck which can lead to abscesses forming weeks or even months later.“Our advice would be never to throw sticks for your dog as there is a real risk of injury.
"We would encourage owners to throw balls or other toys, or rubber sticks, which make an excellent alternative to their dangerous wooden counterparts.”
Recalling the injury, Pauline described hearing a “horrific noise” come from Corona but couldn’t find anything wrong with her, until she was sick later that night.
The family saw blood in her vomit, so they took her to Blue Cross where X-rays found evidence of the injury, which required the immediate referral to Paragon.
Pauline said: “Mickey is the most impressive vet I have ever met. He has so much compassion and so much pride in what he does. After we left Corona with him, I just felt so much better.
“She was at Paragon for eight days and he was in touch with us night and day, letting us know what was happening and how she was doing. We can’t put into words how grateful we are to him for saving Corona’s life.
“She has recovered so well. She has probably calmed down a little bit after her op, as she was very, very lively before, but she is still running around after balls and stealing socks.
“We’re just overjoyed to have her back. We were heartbroken when we thought we might lose her.
“We will never throw a stick for her again.”
For more information about Paragon Veterinary Referrals, visit www.paragonreferrals.co.uk.