Stick Injuries in Dogs


Stick Injuries in Dogs

Acute oropharyngeal penetrations or “stick injuries” are very common in dogs with many vets seeing at least one new case per month. Tim recently had an article published in the Vet Times about how to treat these cases which caused  quite a bit of public interest being cited in the Telegraph and then the Daily Mail!

Despite this however, we continue to see cases sent in to us as sadly many owners do not see the potentially tragic consequences of an apparently innocent game of fetch until it is too late. 

Many acute stick injuries can be dealt with very well within general practice.  Penetration into the deeper tissues of the neck, however, warrants urgent (and often delicate) surgical exploration as infection can rapidly descend into the thorax (as a mediastinitis) which is often fatal. You can “spot” these more severe cases by either carefully palpating for any subcutaneous emphysema within the head and neck regions or by taking radiographs at the time of initial assessment. We are happy to see any type of “stick injury” whether it is confined to the oral cavity or if it extends down the neck needing careful cervical exploration or even thoracotomy to debride, remove and drain the damaged tissues.

 long cervical tract  fragments of stick

These are pictures of a very long cervical tract that extended dorsal to the trachea into the mediastinum and the fragments of wood that were removed during the surgery.


Tim Charlesworth

If you think you have a suitable case that you would like to refer, or if you would like any more information, please contact Tim Charlesworth MA VetMB DSAS(ST) MRCVS RCVS Recognised Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Soft Tissue) on 01793 528341 or e-mail: Eastcott Veterinary Referrals

Examples of soft tissue surgery cases seen

Eastcott Veterinary Referrals CPD Courses 

How to Refer a Case to Eastcott Veterinary Referrals




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Eastcott Veterinary Clinic & Hospital
Edison Business Park
Hindle Way, Off Dorcan Way

Telephone: 01793 528341 - select option 2