Veterinary Emergencias: We have fished our dog!

We are walking on the beach with our dog, and suddenly, we see that a piece of fishing nylon is showing up from its mouth. Afraid of the possibility that one of more fish hooks could be in the end of the thread, we pull out the nylon in order to avoid they get pinned in any place of its mouth or digestive tube. Suddenly, our little dog shrieks and we notice a strong resistance of the fishing thread. We have just pinned the fish hooks in our dog with the best of the intentions.

Because we live in a coastal town, our beaches are visited by many fishing amateurs who leave abandoned or forgotten irresponsibly part of their tools. Sometimes, this accident happens when the animal’s owners are fishing and the hooks end up in their dog’s mouth instead of in the sea bream’s.

We must take out the hooks only when these are out of the animal’s mouth and when the prominence, which is in the end to avoid the fish escapes, is not pinned in. Of course, and as I have explained, we must never pull out the nylon or cut it since it will help the vets to make the extraction.

In many occasions, the hooks go through the digestive tube, and finally are given away through the dregs. I remember a teckle dog weighing about 10 kilos and arriving at the clinic with a piece of nylon showing up from its mouth. After making it calm, we found the thread was introduced inside the oesophagus; when we made the x-rays we found it had a tool, composed by two hooks turned outwards and linked each other by a big piece of lead, inside the stomach. Observing the size of both the tool and the animal and regarding the possibility the tool could hurt the pylori or the intestine, I suggested the owners to operate the animal immediately. However, the owners refused the surgery. So we gave the animal a diet consisting on pureed potatoes and mucus protector. Three days later, the owners arrived with their dog and the big object, which had been taken out in a natural way and with no difficulty.

In reality, when the hooks get into the oral cavity or in any other organ in the abdomen, they can be taken out easily. The same happens when they get into the part of the oesophagus which goes through the neck. However, it is dangerous when they are in the thoracic part of the oesophagus. We usually send these animals to veterinary hospitals having endoscopes service. Sometimes these cannot be taken out and thoracic surgery is then required to perform the extraction.

Av. Costa Cálida Nº 31 - CP 30860 Puerto de Mazarrón (Murcia)