Owners vow never to throw sticks for cocker spaniel again *GRAPHIC CONTENT*

Five-year-old cocker spaniel Brodie has been hailed a miracle dog after a stick thrown during a game got lodged dangerously between his mouth and stomach. 

Thankfully, after a desperate 110-mile mercy dash from Fort William, Brodie was saved by the skills of the team at the Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow. 

Owner Jennifer MacDonald is now backing Vets Now’s ‘Ditch The Stick’ Campaign, launched in response to the worrying number of dogs needing emergency treatment after stick accidents. 

Cocker spaniel playing in tall grass with flowers
Brodie was out for a walk when the drama unfolded.

Brodie was out for a walk with Jennifer’s husband Allan near their family home in Mallaig when the drama unfolded. 

“Allan was working from home and took Brodie out by the lochside during his lunch break,” said Jennifer.  “He threw a stick and it stuck into the ground, pointing upwards. Brodie jumped straight onto it and it lodged in his throat. 

“Allan was quite a way from his car, so he phoned me, and I drove straight there. Brodie was lying on his side like he was paralysed, with this stick poking out of his mouth.  We were both in shock and so scared. We thought we’d lost him.” 

The couple rushed him to their own vets in Fort William but they quickly realised that if he was to have any chance of survival, Brodie needed a CT scan and the best hospital facilities. 

Jennifer nursed the desperately ill dog on her lap during an agonising near-four-hour drive to the Vets Now Hospital in Glasgow city centre.  

It’s one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies. 

“I was trying to stay calm, but it was a horrendous journey,” said Jennifer. 

Brodie was rushed in for treatment as Jennifer and Allan waited for news, fearing the worst. 

Surgical specialist Ana Marques said: “When Brodie arrived, he was met by our emergency and critical care team who described him as alert but unable to stand. Our intensive care team kept him in overnight, ensured he was kept stable and pain-free in preparation for the CT scan and surgery the next morning.  

“Brodie underwent major surgery to remove the stick, which had also damaged his oesophagus. This meant that Brodie wasn’t allowed to eat or drink normally, he had to be fed using a tube to allow the oesophagus the best chance of healing properly. 

“Brodie was a model patient, a lovely boy and the whole team enjoyed taking care of him.” 

Shot of the inside of Brodie's Mouth
Brodie underwent major surgery to remove the stick, which had also damaged his oesophagus.

Jennifer and Allan were given the good news after a worrying night in the city and were able to take Brodie home after a week’s intensive care at the hospital. 

He is now continuing to recover well at home, but Jennifer is anxious to make sure no other owners go through the agonies she faced. 

“We’ll never throw a stick again,” said Jennifer. “We usually take a ball to throw anyway and that’s so much safer. 

“After all we’ve been through, my advice to anyone thinking of playing with a stick with their dog is: just don’t.  

They can be so dangerous, and you never know what might happen. 

“I’m just so grateful to Vets Now. We know Brodie wouldn’t be with us now without everything they did.” 

cocker spaniel on a hilltop
"...my advice to anyone thinking of playing with a stick with their dog is: just don’t."

A report from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2018 found that dogs suffer as many injuries playing fetch as they do on Britain’s roads.  

Vets Now vets and vet nurses regularly see horrific injuries, from impalements like Brodie’s to splintered pieces lodged in throats. 

Now the Ditch the Stick campaign hopes to alert the UK’s fast-growing army of dog owners to the various dangers that sticks can cause. 

All of Vets Now’s premises 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.