What Did This Dog Swallow?

The last several posts to ‘You Make The Diagnosis’ have been pretty difficult, so I decided to give you an easy one.  The following is a picture of a dog’s mouth.  It focuses on the base of the tongue (upper right corner) at the back of the mouth.  The questions are;  What did this dog swallow?  How did I get it out?


Diagnosis:  Fish Hook

This dog swallowed a fish hook that was left on a counter.  The hook lodged in the back of the dog’s throat in the soft pallet.  See the point surrounded by blood.  If you look closely, you may visualize the eye just above it surrounded by white, foamy saliva.  The first step in removing the hook involved anesthesia.  This dog would not even let me look at her without it.  Once she was asleep, I cut the hook in half to remove it.  The barb on the tip of the hook and the eye on the other end damage the tissue if you try to just pull it out.  If she had swallowed a treble hook, the same principle applies.  Cut each of the three hooks in half prior to removal.  When she woke up, I sent her home on antibiotics and pain medicine.  As you can tell, a well-equipped veterinary hospital has to hold a variety of surgical equipment.  Many people would not have guessed if queried but standard protocol includes having a wire or bolt cutter or both on hand!     

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.