Continuing Education

Oropharyngeal stick injury in the dog

  • N. Devriendt
  • B. Van Goethem
  • A. Kitshoff
  • A. Furcas
  • E. Van der Vekens
  • H. de Rooster


An oropharyngeal penetrating wound can occur in dogs playing with sticks. Acute symptoms include pain, blood in the saliva, dysphagia and even respiratory complaints. Surgical exploration of the cervical region to lavage the sinus tract and to remove foreign material (wood fragments, grass, sand) is imperative. The prognosis of stick injuries is good, unless the oesophagus is perforated (mortality rates of 15-50%). The chance of developing a chronic draining tract is 1%. When initial trauma is not recognized or treated, chronic stick injuries (> 7 days) evolve, and abscesses and discharging draining tracts develop. Preoperative medical imaging is helpful to detect residual foreign material. Despite extensive surgical exploration in chronic cases, symptoms persist in nearly one-third of cases.

How to Cite:

Devriendt, N. & Van Goethem, B. & Kitshoff, A. & Furcas, A. & Van der Vekens, E. & de Rooster, H., (2015) “Oropharyngeal stick injury in the dog”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 84(3), 162-168. doi:

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Published on
31 May 2015
Peer Reviewed