Emergency vets come to the rescue of stricken Jinnie

A dog needed emergency surgery after impaling herself on a branch in the garden.

Four-year-old rescue dog Jinnie had chased a bird and was left with the six-inch stick protruding from her chest.

Thankfully owner John Enright, from High Wycombe, didn’t risk doing more damage by trying to remove it and rushed Jinnie to the Vets Now clinic in Reading.

And, having seen her make a good recovery after the urgent operation, John is backing Vets Now’s Ditch the Stick campaign. Although Jinnie’s case was a freak accident involving a branch on a bush, many dogs suffer horrible injuries from sticks thrown for them.

A report from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2018 found dogs suffer as many injuries playing fetch as they do on Britain’s roads. And Vets Now vets and nurses regularly see horrific injuries, from impalements like Jinnie to splintered pieces lodged in throats.

Lurcher crossbreed Jinnie standing in the snow

Lurcher crossbreed Jinnie has a habit of chasing wildlife in the family garden so vehicle leasing boss John didn’t bother when she shot off after a bird.

“She came back in and lay down on her bed a few minutes later and we saw this stick hanging out of her chest cavity,” said John, 60. “I actually thought it was one of her ribs which had popped out.

“We had a look in the garden later and saw where we think she’d propelled herself into a low-hanging branch that snapped off.

“She was trembling a bit and was obviously in a bit of shock. There was blood coming from the wound, which was about two or three inches across.

“I had a fleeting thought about reaching down and pulling the stick out, as the end we could see looked quite smooth.

“But I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do and I needed help fast.”

Jinnie's stuck injury

John contacted his local vets but as it was a Saturday — and obvious that surgery under general anaesthetic would be required — he was referred to Vets Now.

Our Reading clinic is one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.

“We examined Jinnie thoroughly and it became clear the stick injury required careful exploration as there was a risk of penetration into the thorax,” said Paul Salmon, senior vet in Reading.

“While we could feel the end of the stick superficially, we were unsure just how extensive the damage was under the skin.

“We sedated Jinnie, gave her pain medication and fluids and began the intricate process of searching for splinters, removing the stick and cleaning and repairing her wounds.”

A close up of Jinnie's stick injury, with a stick protruding from her skin

The delicate operation was successful, but Jinnie needed constant monitoring and further treatment and pain relief over the coming days.

John was kept up to date throughout the procedures and ongoing care before happily being reunited with Jinnie on the Tuesday.

“It was such a relief to get her back and to see her looking so much better than when we handed her over,” said John.

“We were over the moon that she came through it all.

“The treatment Jinnie got was first rate and everyone was so caring. As a worried owner, it was such a relief to know she was in safe hands and we’re very appreciative of the professional care.”

The Ditch the Stick campaign hopes to alert the UK’s fast-growing army of dog owners to the various dangers which sticks can cause. And John is giving it his support.

Jinnie lying on a blanket on the grass

“The exposed end of the stick was thin and smooth, but when I was given it back I saw the other end was very rough and jagged,” added John. “If I’d pulled it out, I could have done so much damage.

“Our instinct was to leave it and get her to the vet and I’m so glad we did.”

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, 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.