Associated Veterinary Specialists - Advanced Veterinary Care - St. Louis, MO
AVS Veterinary News

A Hard Lesson

While practicing emergency medicine at the Animal Emergency Clinics from 1981 through 1984. I saw many animals that had ingested foreign objects. Some of the most common were fish hooks. A baited hook is an irresistible temptation to a dog accompanying his owner on a fishing trip. PLEASE advise your clients that when a pet grabs and swallows a hook, LET IT GO!! Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to retrieve the hook by putting tension on the line. YOU WILL SET THE HOOK! If the hook makes it into the stomach or even lodges in the esophagus but remains unset, a competent endoscopist will be able to remove it. If the hook is set with the barb buried in the mucosa, it will only be removable surgically. A six month old beagle was recently presented to me for endoscopic removal of a large silver fish hook lodged in the esophagus. Previous attempts to remove the hook endoscopically had failed. It was referred to me in hopes I had better equipment. When presented, the pup was obviously in great pain and distress and collapsed on our exam table. I informed the owner that the most skilled endoscopist was not going to help in this case, the pup needed immediate surgery. The owner then informed me that finances would preclude any surgery. The owner then gave permission for euthanasia and necropsy. Attached are photographs of the radiograph and necropsy specimen. A very hard lesson indeed.