Hook Line and Sinker

Enjoying a spot of fishing is one of those activities many of us enjoy.  But fishing and all the paraphernalia associated with it has a few dangers for our pets, as Ollie’s tale shows…

Ollie is an elderly Golden Retriever who loves her walks on the beach with her owner.  In typical Retriever fashion, she is a little food obsessed and despite being old enough to know better has a tendency to eat first and think later! 
One day last summer while out on the beach, Ollie decided to check out the neighbour's brand new Kontiki.  A few hooks had yet to be attached to the line, and were baited with some tempting Tuatua.  Much to her owner’s (and the neighbour's!) horror, within seconds a hook had been swallowed, and Ollie’s teeth had cut through the line.  The hook was gone from sight!
Ollie’s owner did the right thing and contacted us for advice right away.  As Ollie was feeling ok, and showing no ill effects from her shellfish snack she was booked for an x-ray the following day.  The x-ray confirmed she had swallowed the hook, and it was in the region of her stomach.  Ollie continued to be bright and happy, so a technique was used to encourage the hook to move through and hopefully out the other end!  But 24 hours later an x-ray confirmed the hook was stuck fast in the same region.  Surgery was unavoidable, and so poor old Ollie had to go through major surgery to have the offending hook removed from her stomach.  The good news is that she went on to make a full recovery.  No guarantees that Ollie has learnt the error of her ways, but her owner is very aware of the dangers of fish hooks!
So a few points to finish with; 
  • If your dog or cat swallows a fish hook and the line is still attached, no matter how tempting it is DO NOT PULL ON THE LINE!!!!! This will cause the hook to become deeply imbedded and lead to further difficulties with removal.  Ensure the trailing line is out of the way (tucking it into a collar for example), and contact your Vet as soon as possible.
  • Be aware of fishing rods and lines on the beach, particularly in the evenings or early mornings.  The smell of fish and bait will lure in most dogs for a sniff, so keeping them on a lead is a sensible precaution.
  • When preparing for a day out fishing, or cleaning the gear after your return home keep in mind that the fishy odours can attract your pets.  We frequently see cats with a fish hook in the mouth after rubbing up against and sniffing a fishing line.
Many thanks to Ollie’s owner who allowed us to share her tale, in the hope of preventing further fishy mishaps!