Vet's warning to dog owners over 'lethal' backyard game

The common activity could have serious repercussions for pets.

A vet has warned of the risks involved in a popular backyard game that left one Aussie Labrador with a shocking injury.

In an image shared by SASH, an emergency vet clinic based in NSW, a stick is seen pierced through two-year-old dog Milo's back left leg. "This is the leg of a 2-year-old Labrador who unfortunately, in true Labrador style, impaled himself on a stick while playing ball in the yard," the vet explained. "The stick went through his back left leg."

Milo the labrador was impaled by a stick playing fetch. Source: Facebook
Milo the labrador was impaled by a stick playing fetch. Source: Facebook

Specialist Surgeon Dr Julia Sumner and Surgery Resident Dr Sarah Leber prepared the dog for surgery and successfully removed the stick. While Milo had a successful recovery, the vet clinic warns they have "removed sticks from all parts of the body in dogs" in the past.

"It's important to remember that sticks pose a risk to dogs and should not be used as a play toy," they warned. "Always opt for a toy made for dogs that is safe for playing!"

Many were quick to share their shock over the incident. "Sticks are lethal," one woman responded. "I wish people wouldn't throw them to their dogs."

The scary injury comes just weeks after a border collie named Riley nearly lost his life playing fetch with sticks. Northside Emergency Veterinary Service (NEVS) warned they had seen a spike in the number of life-threatening injuries caused by owners and their pets playing the popular game.

"Riley was probably one of the worst ones we've seen," Clinical Manager, Dr Heather Russell, told Yahoo News Australia.

Dr Russell acknowledged the act of chasing a stick is "a bit of an unknown danger" and can seem like a "fun game in the park", however she urged others to seek alternative ways to play catch with their dog.

"They're better off throwing a toy or a frisbee, or something that's soft that the dog can catch in its mouth without damaging it," she explained.

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