Vet's grave warning about 'ideal and convenient dog toy'


A Queensland vet has warned about the dangers of using a stick to play fetch with a dog.

Animal Emergency Service of Underwood, just south of Brisbane, wrote on Facebook about “how a game of fetch can turn into a pet emergency”.

Akira, a two-year-old German Shepherd, was playing fetch in a park in November with a stick.

However, somehow the dog impaled herself on it.

Akira, a German Shepherd, required surgery after she impaled herself on a stick during a game of fetch. Source: Facebook/ Animal Emergency Service

The two-year-old pooch was treated by Dr Kellie who found a “deep, painful wound” between Akira’s forelimbs. She was hospitalised with “pre-surgery intravenous fluids and pain relief”. But the worst was still to come.

Dr Kellie became concerned with the dog’s breathing under anaesthesia and after looking further through the wound found the stick had penetrated Akira’s chest, through the ribs and into the thoracic cavity which houses the heart and lungs.

The vet performed open chest surgery on the dog to not only fix the wound but to also remove any “remnant sticks” and prevent infection along with damage to the lungs.

The surgery lasted “a few hours” but “luckily the lungs were only slightly bruised”, Animal Emergency Service wrote.

“Akira woke up from her major surgery, unfazed by what had just happened.

“She was such a brave girl and the Pet ICU team fell in love with her. Two days later, she was well enough to go home to rest with her incredible family.”

Akira with a ball after her surgery. The vet recommended taking a ball as sticks and bounce off grass and splinter. Source:

While Akira the dog was fine, the vet warned about the dangers of playing with sticks and added it’s not the first time a dog has suffered a chest or abdominal wound. 

“Sticks might seem like an ideal and convenient toy however their use comes with risks,” the vet wrote.

“This is due to the unpredictable nature of the stick bouncing off the grass, the fast movement of dogs as they run towards it and the splinting ability of the sticks.

“Next time you are at the dog park, perhaps remember to take a ball instead.”

Pet owners are also being warned about walking their pooches on hot roads and pavements over the summer.

Dr Anne Fawcett of Sydney’s School of Veterinary Science told Yahoo7 road surfaces can reach more than 50C, and dog owners might not notice their pups suffering through the heat.

It comes after New Zealand Animal Police shared a photo of a dog with burnt paws from a “hot tar road”.

In other dog related news, pet owners should be careful about using small toys to play with their dogs after a French Bulldog fell sick swallowing four rubber ducks.

Luckily, Beefcake the dog was okay after undergoing surgery.