BLAINE, Minn. – Like many dogs, Piglet loves few things better than playing fetch. But what started as a cheerful game nearly turned deadly after the 2-year-old bulldog was impaled while chasing a stick.
Piglet was playing in the woods outside her home Friday evening when she went dashing after a 12-inch stick thrown by one of her owners, Wyatt Towner. The stick got caught in the ground as Piglet tried to retrieve it, and it pierced the tissue underneath her tongue and passed into her neck.
Towner and his girlfriend, Lori Landry, quickly fashioned a makeshift stretcher and rushed Piglet to the veterinarian.
“I was holding her in the back of the truck and I didn’t think she was going to make it,” said Landry. “It was pretty clear that she was going into shock.”
Piglet was stabilized by emergency clinicians at AEVS, then underwent surgery to remove the stick at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Eden Prairie. Amazingly, it missed the vital structures of the neck, including the esophagus, trachea, larynx, carotid artery and jugular vein, according to Dr. Heather Hadley, a board-certified veterinary surgeon with BluePearl.
By Tuesday evening, Piglet was home with her owners and resting comfortably. She is scheduled for a recheck examination at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Blaine on Friday morning.
“Piglet is a very lucky dog,” said Hadley. “We’ll have to continue to monitor her because infection could be an ongoing concern, but she seems to be doing incredibly well at this point.”
Hadley said it’s not uncommon for dogs to become injured while playing with sticks, and added that Piglet’s situation is a good reminder for all owners to be cautious with sticks. They are sharp and dirty, and can cause deep tissue injury and infection.
“They’re essentially like dull knives,” said Hadley. “I’ve seen some pretty dramatic wounds resulting from sticks, including a penetrating injury to the heart.”