This year we have had quite a few cases of dogs swallowing fish hooks. My article this week will be quick guide on what to do when confronted with this problem.
Obviously prevention is better than cure. With lockdown and our travel and movement restrictions there have been many instances where people walk their dogs in areas where people are fishing. Personally I would avoid walking my dog off the leash when passing fishermen, the risk of your dog picking up a bit of bait with a hook attached are quite high.
First thing you must never do if your dog picks up some bait is pull the fishing line and try and retrieve the hook this way. The hook is designed to travel in one direction only, you will not be doing any favours by trying to hold onto a fishing line, just cut it and let the dog swallow the fishing line.
95% of swallowed hooks pass through the intestine and out naturally without causing any problems whatsoever. It is important to follow the passage of the hook through the GI tract with x-rays daily in the off chance that you are you unlucky and the hook gets caught up in the intestine. I strongly advise that if you take your pet to your vet and there is a fish hook in the stomach or intestine, DO NOT ELECT FOR SURGERY until you have monitored the hook for at least 48 hours, if it hasn’t moved by then, then you will have to go to surgery. Abdominal surgery is quite routine and any experienced vet should be able to find and remove the hook.
Problems arise when dog owners pull on the fishing line or it gets caught and the dog pulls back on the hook. If the hook gets caught in the oesophagus especially in the thorax then the plot thickens and its removal can prove problematic. Locating the hook with an endoscope is simple enough but if it is lodged in the thoracic oesophagus and it can’t be removed then the dog will require thoracic surgery where its chest is cut open to try and remove the hook, this is evidently surgery that is fraught with potential pitfalls.
So the takeaway from all this is
DON’T PULL ON A FISHING LINE!!!