OPINION: Fishing is a classic New Zealand summer pastime and I thought I knew a little bit about fishing from when my father used to take us to the rivers in the South Island. But I have recently learnt a lot about hooks and the ever present appetite of the four-legged vacuum cleaner (labradors).
Rick was having a blustery day at the beach last week and was getting ready to come home. With the back of the four-wheel drive open, he was loading everything and by the time he turned around he was in time to see one of his rods being towed down the beach by “Odie”, his yellow lab. Fortunately, someone else stopped Odie but not before she had eaten the baited hook. Rick managed to quickly cut the nylon and free her from the rod but the hook had disappeared down Odie’s mouth.
If this ever happens, try to cut the line at a long length as it helps us to find the hook or whatever is at the other end.
Odie was with us within half an hour and we soon had her sound asleep on the anaesthetic machines. The hook, unfortunately, wasn’t in her mouth but the trusty X-ray machine quickly found it a little bit further down her throat.
This is where it gets tricky, because the shape of the hook is all important.
Odie’s hook, unfortunately, wasn’t a square shape, so the point was protruding and it was very likely that it had embedded in to the tissues. Next, it was the little flexible endoscope camera’s turn and we had it threaded in there to see if we could check out the hook and possibly retrieve it.
Luckily, we could see the hook clearly but, unfortunately, it was well-embedded in the soft tissues of Odie’s throat after she pulled back from the rod. So it was out with the stitch-up gear and a little incision on the side of poor Odie’s neck.
I have in the past, and I guess it is common belief, that the best way to get a hook out of anywhere is to push it through and cut off the barbed tip and then easily slide it back through the other way, Rambo style! But, oh no. Most hooks nowadays are specially strengthened – news to me. So there was no way this hook was coming out easily, but with a bit of delicate dissection around all those vital structures in the neck, we managed to retrieve the hook at last and within two days Odie was back looking for food.
But then in came Cammie, who had at least waited to get home before gobbling the fish hook. This time the hook was a long way down and we had to make a little zipper underneath to open up her stomach and “fish” it out along with the attached nylon. These surgeries are major, both in the procedure itself and recovery, as the patient is not allowed any solid food for several days so that the stomach can heal. Cammie is a model patient and is back home with a very relieved family.
Cats aren’t exempt from the list of patients that eat what they really shouldn’t and we get at least one call a year to search for a darning needle from a very guilty looking cat with a piece of thread dangling out of its mouth.
The nastiest object that they eat has to be that elasticised wrapping around roasts. You see, string-like objects can also cause obstructions because it attaches to the lining of the bowel in several places and then as the bowel tries to move it along it just concertinas the bowel up into a tight bundle. One dog ate a whole wrapping once but, fortunately, it was in cling film and when we made him vomit, it all came up in a neat bundle. So please, make sure the roast and leftovers are in a secure four-legged-proof bin!
So when you are fishing in the weekends, keep a close eye on the vacuum cleaner with four legs and when you are mending the kids’ clothes, hold on to that needle.
Anderson’s Veterinary Hospitals in Palmerston North, phone 357 9993 for Pitama Rd or 356 9993 for Hokowhitu, open till 7pm Monday to Friday and open Saturday and Sunday.
Published at Fri, 03 Mar 2017 23:07:01 +0000