Murphy the dog has lucky escape after 8.5 inch stick lodges in shoulder while playing fetch
The PDSA, the UK's leading veterinary charity, says at least one dog a week is brought into each of its hospitals after suffering a stick injury.
One of these was Murphy, a collie cross who was brought into the Wolverhampton PDSA after his owner noticed he was limping.
On examination vets could feel an object under the surface of his skin at the front of his right shoulder.
Murphy had been playing with a stick in the garden earlier in the day, and when vets operated they were shocked to find an 8.5in (22cm) stick lodged through his shoulder like a skewer.
It is thought the dog had been throwing the stick around when it became lodged in his mouth, pierced his throat and travelled through the neck into his shoulder, narrowly missing the trachea and oesophagus.
After surgery to remove the stick Murphy made a complete recovery, but the charity said the case highlights the benefits of using safe toys to play with dogs.
PDSA head nurse Kay Brough said: "Murphy was incredibly lucky; if the stick had punctured his trachea he could have died within minutes. Thankfully we were able to fully remove the stick and Murphy went on to make a full recovery. But sadly not all dogs with injuries like this get such a happy ending."
PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones said: "Playing fetch with sticks is something many people believe is a perfect game for dogs, however I have seen a number of severe injuries caused by this.
"On average, across our 51 hospitals we see stick-related injuries on at least a weekly basis, which includes injuries and wounds to the mouth and throat, choking and intestinal blockages.
"I always advise owners never to throw sticks for dogs. There are so many fun and safe toys and games available, why take the risk?"