Pup beats the odds after swallowing a 10-inch stick

Charity vets PDSA issue a warning after a nine-month old puppy swallowed a stick that was half the length of his body.

Rocky, the Southampton pooch, named after his owner’s favourite film, was seen by vets at Southampton PDSA Pet Hospital after suffering from severe sickness.

When his owner called for advice, vets recommended he should be admitted as an emergency and, to the shock of his owner – the team found a huge stick in the puppy’s stomach.

PDSA vets are sharing Rocky’s story to warn pet owners of the dangers of sticks and keep them away from paws while out walking, or at home in the garden.

Rocky’s owner Joanna said: ““Rocky was being sick repeatedly and couldn’t keep any food down. I was so worried and I had no idea what was wrong. I called PDSA and they told me to bring him straight in.”

Initial investigations left vets suspicious of a foreign object in Rocky’s stomach; his deteriorating condition and continued vomiting meant time was of the essence and emergency surgery was needed.

PDSA Vet, Zofia Bauman, said: “We knew Rocky was very likely to have eaten something he shouldn’t have to cause his sudden illness, and suspected he had a foreign body in his stomach, but we couldn’t believe our eyes when we discovered the stick during surgery! Given its length, and his size, it’s a wonder it hadn’t punctured his vital organs and caused fatal injuries. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

After an intense hour-long operation the stick was successfully removed, but Rocky needed close monitoring in the hospital overnight to ensure he remained stable and no internal bleeding occurred.

He was allowed home the following day with painkillers, on strict rest, and had now beaten all odds to make a full recovery.

PDSA warns the accident shows how dangerous sticks can be. The charity regularly sees serious stick-related injuries across its 48 Pet Hospitals and is asking owners to only use pet safe toys for playtime to keep pets safe, especially during the coronavirus crisis. Chewing or playing with sticks can cause wounds in the mouth and throat, choking or intestinal blockages as well as the risk of sticks getting lodged in the mouth.

Joanna added: “We couldn’t believe he’d managed to swallow a stick that was half the length of his body! We didn’t see it happen and think he must have got hold of it in the garden. I’d encourage everyone to keep sticks well away from their pets to avoid the suffering Rocky has been through. Our family was heartbroken to see him so unwell. Thankfully, he’s on the mend and feeling better already, and that’s all thanks to PDSA.

“They are wonderful and I would like to thank the vet team who helped save our little treasure. I think PDSA are the best charity in the world!”

In times of uncertainty and hardship, much-loved pets like Rocky will still fall ill or be injured and need emergency, life-saving care. Rocky’s treatment would have cost his owner over £750. That’s when PDSA steps in to help, but they are facing a crisis and need your help.