I often warn owners about the risk of throwing sticks for their dogs – sticks can get lodged in throats, under tongues and cause damage in all sorts of places. But last week we saw a spaniel that had not been thrown anything and still got into trouble with a stick. This Springer Spaniel presented to us in a lot of pain with something hard literally poking its way out under the ribs. Further investigation lead towards this being some sort of foreign body in the stomach, my colleague operated to find an eight inch long sharp stick in the dog's stomach – already making a hole in the stomach wall.

We have to assume that this spaniel was going full throttle (as they always do) with her mouth open through woodland and literally ran onto the stick and swallowed it down. This spaniel then continued to work for the rest of the day before coming home, looking miserable and not wanting supper.

My colleague carefully removed the stick through an incision in the stomach and repaired another hole that the stick itself had made. This was major surgery but the patient recovered well and with lots of nursing, medicines and post operative care she is on the mend. So I still reiterate my warning that you should not throw sticks for your dogs – but I suppose this is a lesson that however vigilant you are, if you have a spaniel, you can never avoid all disasters.