He was generally well in himself but was very reluctant to open his mouth fully. A biopsy was taken of the lump and sent to the path lab, which indicated it was composed of inflammatory tissue. There are many possible causes of this sort of swelling in the throat, including penetration wounds from both the inside and the outside. Cody was started on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, but after a few days, there had been no improvement.
Cody was then examined under sedation, so we could examine the mouth carefully, and we discovered a small hole along the base of the tongue. Probing this hole revealed a deep wound extending back towards the throat.
Cody was then given a full anaesthetic, the hole was widened, and an incision was made over the swelling under the throat. After a bit of exploration, a 5cm piece of wood was found deep in the swelling, and removed. This was a fragment of a stick that had entered the base of the tongue, and been pushed right back into the soft tissues of the throat.
Have you ever seen a dog running after a thrown stick? The stick bounces along the ground, turning end over end, and if the dog is fast it will grab for the stick before it has stopped bouncing. One end of the stick is pointed into the ground, and the dog runs open-mouthed onto the other end and, well you get the picture.
They can also do this by running onto a stationary stick, and the results can be catastrophic. We have seen dogs that have run onto large sticks at speed and severely impaled themselves, the stick ending up alongside or even in the thorax.
Cody has made a good recovery so far, but it is a strong reminder that playing with sticks can be a dangerous activity. Please encourage your dogs to play with safer toys.
Kelly McKenzie BVSc