Vets have called on anglers to be careful when discarding fishing tackle and equipment after a dog bit into a baited hook on Dundee’s waterfront.
Three-year-old husky Luna required emergency treatment after getting the 4cm metal barb painfully attached to her lower jaw during a weekend walk along the shore.
She’s one of hundreds of dogs that are injured by fish hooks every year, with the sharp metal also a potential death trap for other small animals, including cats and swans.
Luna’s owner Darren Gordon, 29, said: “It was high tide and I was sitting on the wall and letting her play. I heard her crunching on something and ran over to see what she’d got hold of.
“I don’t know if it was maybe a crab or something, but I saw this fishing line hanging from her mouth.
“When I tried to pull it clear I noticed the hook was stuck right in her lip and I realised it would have ripped her mouth if I kept tugging.
“The line was about a metre long and there was a hook on the other end too and it would have been even more dangerous if she’d swallowed it.
“But she was putting her paw on it and trying to pull it free which could have done more damage.”
After finding a passer-by with a Swiss Army knife to cut away the trailing line, Darren called his local vet and was referred to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Dundee.
Luna was sick a couple of times in the car on the way but was soon being looked after and on the road to recovery.
“We examined Luna and then did an x-ray to see exactly how the hook was positioned,” said senior vet nurse Leanne Walker.
“We then sedated her and were able to very carefully cut it free with a scalpel and then stitch the wound up. Mr Gordon trimming the line away was fine, but it was definitely the right decision not to try to remove the hook.
“They always have barbs that, if pulled, can make the injury worse.”
Vets Now staff have seen a worrying number of angling injuries, which can be even more serious if the animal swallows the hook.
With lockdown restrictions easing and fishermen increasingly heading to waterways, they’re calling for anglers to be aware of the dangers they could pose.
“Hooks can be very dangerous and often require surgery to remove them, so it is always wise to keep an eye on dogs when they are near rivers or harbours used by anglers,” Leanne added.
The warning is firmly backed by Darren who was relieved to get Luna back fit and well.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to take Luna to the vets, so it was quite a scary experience but the staff at Vets Now were great,” said Darren. “This isn’t something I’d have thought to be on the lookout for at the beach.
“Your first instinct may be to try to pull the hook out, but don’t do that, just get help if something does happen.”
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