Dog Has Stick Removed from Behind His Eye

February 8, 2012

Boston, Mass., Feb. 8, 2012 – A lively run through the woods turned into a major scare for “Jake,” a spirited 8-year-old German shorthaired pointer who lives with his family in South Hamilton, Mass.  In early December 2011 Jake was on a walk through the woods behind his home when he managed to charge head first into the branch of a tree, lodging a stick directly into his face, behind his right eye.  His owners rushed Jake to his local veterinarian, who removed part of the stick that had lodged between Jake’s eyelids, but soon realized the dog would need specialty care that only the Ophthalmology team at Angell could provide.

 Jake with Dr. Martin Coster of Angell Animal Medical Center (Credit: MSPCA-Angell)


When Jake first came to Angell Animal Medical Center, board-certified Ophthalmologists Dan Biros and Martin Coster examined him carefully, suspecting that stick fragments may have still been present behind his eye—even after the exterior wound had long since healed around it.  A series of MRI images taken by Angell radiologist Kathy Beck revealed a 4-cm fragment still lodged between the back of Jake’s eye and the base of his skull. 


Not only was the stick causing Jake serious pain, the Ophthalmology team could see that 30 percent of his retina had detached.  If left inside the stick would only do more damage to his eye.   


 The Stick removed from behind Jake's eye (Credit: MSPCA-Angell)

Dr. Coster, along with the Director of Angell’s Surgery department, Dr. Mike Pavletic, performed a delicate two-hour operation with the support of Angell anesthesiologist Dr. Jeff Wilson and his team.


In the past, removal of the eye might have been required in such a case.  However this was unacceptable to Jake’s family, as well as to the Angell doctors who believed they’d be able to save Jake’s eye and his vision. 


 Jake after surgery to remove the stick. (Credit: MSPCA-Angell)

The surgery to remove the stick was a success and was performed without causing any further threat to Jake’s vision.  Dr. Coster has been seeing Jake for follow-up treatment since the surgery, and the dog has been healing well.  A long course of antibiotics has been required, and Jake’s eye will forever be sunken from scar tissue, but he is now back to his spirited self and his vision has not been affected.


For more information about Angell Animal Medical Center’s Ophthalmology (and other) specialty services readers may click here.




Angell Animal Medical Center cares for more than 50,000 animals a year and is one of the most acclaimed veterinary practices in the country. Angell has 67 doctors and an experienced support staff who work as a team to ensure high quality general wellness, emergency and specialty care. With 31 board-certified specialists and technology that includes an MRI specifically designed for animals, Angell is committed to providing a broad range of specialized expertise and experience, but delivers this care with one-on-one compassion that animals and their owners deserve. Angell is open for emergencies 24 hours of every day of the year, and offers night and weekend appointments with our specialty services.