Meet the gorgeous Kishka – a 3-year-old Golden Retriever who presented to us last month in a somewhat ‘sticky’ situation!

When Kishka began having difficulty chewing on one side and was seen to be bleeding from the mouth area, her owner’s brought her down to see the team at NWVC for further investigation.


Upon physical exam, Dr. Jon identified a carnassial tooth slab fracture, alongside the portion of a stick wedged between two molars. These findings were also accompanied by a large ulceration of the surrounding gum area – no wonder this young lady was having difficulty chewing!

Dr. Jon was able to successfully remove the stick, providing almost immediate relief for one very cooperative patient! Kishka returned some days later for a comprehensive dental procedure, whereby the damaged teeth were removed under a general anaesthetic. All remaining teeth were given a thorough clean, leaving Kishka with a clean bill of dental health!

We’re pleased to report that Kishka has made a remarkable recovery!

It’s not uncommon to see a dog running happily through the park with a giant stick in his mouth – your dog may love to carry them around, play fetch with them, or perhaps demolish their treasure into tiny pieces of kindling. While these activities may provide your pooch with endless hours of enrichment, playing with sticks can pose a very real risk for your pet’s health.

I’m sure most of us recall being told by our parents “don’t run with that stick” – and in hindsight, this was for obvious reasons. The same concept applies to our furry friends – running with something that’s potentially sharp and pointy is generally never considered safe. If this sounds like your dog, it doesn’t mean the fun is over – simply offer them something else to play with while out on their daily walk – an exciting toy, or even one which simulates the real thing!

As in Kishka’s case, sticks have the potential to damage teeth and the surrounding gum area. Long term chewing on these types of objects results in the wearing down of the teeth, often to the point of exposing the inner pulp cavity. This can be extremely painful for dogs and can be likened to that of a cavity in humans. Chewing on sticks can also cause fractures of the teeth, which again can be super painful.

Lodgement of sticks between the teeth, under the tongue, across the roof of the mouth and even in the airway resulting in choking, are also potential risks. We’ve seen these foreign bodies swallowed and lodged within the digestive tract, resulting in surgical removal. As a stick makes its way through the digestive tract, it also has the potential to damage and perforate the digestive tract as it passes through.

Unfortunately, our pets are unable to directly communicate with us when they are experiencing pain or discomfort. Often signs of dental disruption will include drooling, inappetence, chewing on one side or pawing/rubbing at the face area.

If your dog does have a stick lodged within the oral cavity, never remove it on your own, unless you can be 100% sure this can be done safely. Take your pet to a veterinarian immediately to ensure it can be removed with no further damage.