Care call after dog swallows fish hook

By Amy McGillivray -
Mila swallowed a hook while out walking and had to have major surgery. Photo / John Borren
Mila swallowed a hook while out walking and had to have major surgery. Photo / John Borren

A dog owner is pleading for fishermen to take care after her young dog swallowed a fish hook on the beach and needed major surgery costing $2500.

Stephanie Hodges was walking 20-week-old Rottweiler Mila along Papamoa Beach last Friday morning when the dog swallowed a large hook.

Mila started gagging and Ms Hodges noticed the trace from a long-line hanging from her mouth.

"We'd been warned about it at puppy class and they said never to pull it out," she said.

She wrapped the rest of the cord around Mila's collar and got her to the vet as fast as possible.

The vet at the Papamoa Veterinary Clinic could not see the hook by looking down Mila's throat but an x-ray found it lodged in her oesophagus.

Ms Hodges, her 15-year-old son and Mila were then sent to a surgeon in Matamata for an operation to get the hook out.

Dr Stephen McGill tried to use an endoscope to remove the hook but because of its size and location had to perform more invasive surgery.

"I had to go into the thorax, cut between the ribs and spread them so you can get your hand into the chest."

This causes the lungs to collapse so the animal is not able to breathe on its own.

Despite all that, Mila is already bouncing around again.

Mr McGill said he had not seen many dogs that had swallowed hooks although vets often dealt with animals that had hooks caught on their tongues or lips.

Dr Lucy Walton of Papamoa Vets said they always saw an increase in the number of animals with hooks stuck in them over summer.

Most often the hooks got caught in the corner of the mouth or in a paw. It was rare for animals to swallow the whole thing, she said.

During the last two summers about seven cats and 10 dogs had been brought into the clinic with hooks stuck in them, although only two or three had swallowed them.

Ms Hodges said it was not the first time she had seen traces left on Papamoa Beach and this week found another one.

While she does not think fishermen were purposely dumping hooks she is appealing for them to take extra care and make sure they have not lost anything on the beach.

"Mila's lucky," she said.

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