Rango sustained a most bizarre injury during the first week of the Iowa pheasant season. And I didn’t have a clue. When you hunt with dogs, especially the hard-driving types, your dog is at risk for injury. It is unfortunately unavoidable.
When we were done hunting that day, he seemed to be in a lot of pain all of a sudden. Nothing seemed amiss while he was active in the field. But when I took off his electronic collar off he started to cry in pain. The pain seemed to originate in his neck somewhere.
I checked his mouth and couldn’t find anything wrong. I felt around his neck and throat area and couldn’t find an injury. I believed the pain was due to the electronic collar prongs moving around too much on his neck. It is really hard to get the electronic collar on Rango tight enough to keep it from moving without choking him. Since I couldn’t find anything wrong I decided to wait a couple of days to see if he recovered, before making a trip to the Vet.
He seemed to be better but not 100% and was eating slower than usual so I took him to a local Vet. All they found after an exam , and blood work was an ear infection. Since that could be causing the discomfort, he went on an ear disinfecting regime.
After a week passed and he was periodically showing signs a pain and still eating slower than usual, he was taken back to the Vet. A second exam including a look down his throat with a light found nothing. Rango wasn’t showing any pain symptoms at the time of the exam. So he was sent home.
Another week passed and he started to cry and spin around in circles. After talking it over with my wife, we decided that he better get X-rayed pronto. I was on the road so my wife took him back to the Vet and insisted that Rango get X-rays taken. This time the Vet had a better idea. The Vet knocked him out and ran a tube with a scope and a pincer down his esophagus. The Vet discovered a piece of hard horse-weed stalk about 1.25 inches long, lodged in the side of his esophagus, down past the larynx. Fortunately the Vet was able to pull it out without much difficulty. He was put on antibiotics and pain meds. When he woke up my wife said you could tell he was feeling better already.
I have no idea how a small piece of the woody horse-weed stalk came to be wedged so far down his throat. The takeaway from this experience: when your canine has an injury or is ill, keep trying to find the problem. A lot of injuries are hard to diagnose. I read of a very fine Female GSP who died because of a fractured tooth. The fracture did not show up in X-rays. The fracture was discovered too late to save the dog. I must add that the owner and her Vet did their best to save the dog.
Vets are well-trained and experienced, but like Md’s they only see the patient for a few minutes. You know your dog best, keep pushing to find answers. Hopefully you will avoid having to deal with situations like Rango’s , But if you do, don’t give up trying to find the injury.
If you would like to learn more about Rango click on the link below.