Hook, Line and Sinker

Max is a two year old Golden Retriever who loves spending time at the beach with his fur sister Zoe.

As with most Golden Retrievers, Max loves exploring the beach, chasing seagulls and sniffing out all the delights that the beach has to offer! On this particular Friday night, Max’s nose picked up the scent of something interesting in amongst the rocks and before his owners could stop him he had swallowed a fish hook!

Fish hooks can be very dangerous if ingested, but the quick actions of his owners helped prevent serious damage to his oesophagus. Once his owners noticed that Max was happily eating a fishing line, they stopped him from eating anymore by cutting it off at the link and then held the fishing line in place using the link as an anchor while he was transported to AdelaideVet Trinity Gardens.

After a 50 minute drive to the practice, Max was admitted to hospital where he was anaesthetised and x-rayed to identify where the fishing hook was sitting. This was an important factor in determining if the hook was able to be removed using an endoscope or if exploratory surgery was required. An endoscope procedure is the preferred option as it is less invasive and there is a quicker recovery for our patients. Fortunately for Max, the hook had not made it to the stomach so an endoscopy was scheduled and Dr Foreman was called in to perform the procedure.

The endoscope was advanced down the oesophagus and the fishing hook was located. The endoscope is connected to a large TV monitor making it easy to visualise the oesophagus. A large pair of ‘grabbers’ were advanced down the oesophagus alongside the endoscope. The hook was grabbed and then pushed further down the oesophagus so that the hook could be turned around and pulled back up the oesophagus without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Once the hook was pulled out there was still a piece of bait that was wrapped around the hook, hence why Max ate it in the first place. Although it would have been tempting to just pull the fishing line when Max first ate it, the damage that it could have caused to his oesophagus could have been significant and life threatening. Allowing Max to swallow the fishing line would have resulted with the hook sitting in his stomach which would then need to travel along his small and large intestine before being passed in his faeces. This places a risk of the hook potentially getting ‘hooked’ somewhere causing damage to his intestines. Lucky for Max his owner just happens to be our Hospital Manager Tracey and she knew just what should and should not be done!

Lucky for Max his owners acted quickly and sought veterinary attention straight away. Max went home the next day ready for his next beach adventure. 

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