Careless anglers criticised for discarding fish hooks

A dog needed emergency treatment after chomping into a baited fish hook while playing on the seafront.

Three-year-old Husky Luna had to be rushed to Vets Now in Dundee with the 4cm metal barb still painfully attached to her lower jaw.

Crystal clear x-rays taken by the vet later revealed the extent of the ensnarement.

Now, with lockdown restrictions easing and fishermen increasingly heading to waterways, owner Darren Gordon is backing vets’ calls for anglers to be aware of the dangers they could pose.

Luna the Husky at Vets Now's Dundee clinic for article on dog fish hook injury
Luna needed treatment after eating a 4cm baited fish hook while out on a walk ©Vets Now

Darren had taken Luna for a weekend walk on the shore at Dundee waterfront.

“It was high tide and I was sitting on the wall and letting her play,” said Darren, 29, from Dundee. “I heard her crunching on something and ran over to see what she’d got hold of.

“I don’t know if it was maybe a crab or something, but I saw this fishing line hanging from her mouth.

“When I tried to pull it clear I noticed the hook was stuck right in her lip and I realised it would have ripped her mouth if I kept tugging.

“The line was about a metre long and there was a hook on the other end too and it would have been even more dangerous if she’d swallowed it.

“But she was putting her paw on it and trying to pull it free which could have done more damage.”

A fish hook stuck in Luna the Husky's jaw for Vets Now article on dog fish hook injury
The fish hook was stuck in Luna's jaw ©Vets Now

Darren scooped Luna up and carried her, stopping passers-by until he found one who had a Swiss Army knife which he could use to cut the trailing line away.

Darren called his local vet and was referred to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Dundee. It’s one of our nationwide chain of more than 60 hospitals and clinics open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.

We have drawn up an advice guide on what to do if your dog swallows or chews on a discarded fish hook.

Luna was sick a couple of times in the car on the way but was soon being looked after by our skilled staff.

Luna's x-ray showing the fish hook in her mouth
The fish hook can be clearly seen in Luna's x-ray ©Vets Now

“We examined Luna and then did an x-ray to see exactly how the hook was positioned,” said senior vet nurse Leanne Walker.

“We then sedated her and were able to very carefully cut it free with a scalpel and then stitch the wound up. Mr Gordon trimming the line away was fine, but it was definitely the right decision not to try to remove the hook.

“They always have barbs that, if pulled, can make the injury worse.”

Vets Now staff have seen a worrying number of angling injuries and it can be even more serious if the animal swallows the hook.

“Hooks can be very dangerous and often require surgery to remove them, so it is always wise to keep an eye on dogs when they are near rivers or harbours used by anglers,” added Leanne.

The warning is firmly backed by Darren who was relieved to get Luna back fit and well.

Luna standing in front of a sunset for Vets Now article on dog fish hook injury ©Vets Now
Luna's owner is warning other owners to be on the look out for fish hooks ©Vets Now

“It’s the first time I’ve had to take Luna to the vets, so it was quite a scary experience but the staff were great,” said Darren. “This isn’t something I’d have thought to be on the lookout for at the beach.

“Your first instinct may be to try to pull the hook out, but don’t do that, just get help if something does happen.”

All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.

We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available.

While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies, like Luna’s, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have.

If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, Vets Now will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.