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Surgeons Remove Two Sticks Embedded in Dog’s Throat

BOSTON, Jan. 30, 2014 – A beloved three-year-old Poodle named “Maisy” is recovering after surgeons at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston removed two sticks embedded in her throat, causing extreme irritation to her left eye, the world-renowned veterinary hospital announced today.

Maisy was brought to Angell when her owner, Mary Erickson of Natick, Mass., noticed her left eye had become inflamed and irritated.  Dr. Martin Coster of Angell’s Ophthalmology team examined Maisy and discovered an infected abscess causing significant inflammation, discharge and pain.  A CT scan revealed two sticks—of two inches and one and a half inches respectively—embedded deep inside Maisy’s throat.  The sticks were pressing against Maisy’s throat and the back of her eye socket, threatening her vision.

The size of the sticks embedded in Maisy's throat astonished even the doctors who removed them (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

The size of the sticks embedded in Maisy’s throat astonished even the doctors who removed them (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

Dr. Coster broke the news to Erickson that Maisy would require surgery to remove them.  “I was astonished to learn just what was wrong and I really have no idea how it could have happened,” she said.

Because the sticks in Maisy’s throat were so deeply embedded into her skull—close to vital structures such as her carotid artery and trachea—Dr. Coster turned to Dr. Sue Casale, who specializes in soft tissue surgery, to perform the delicate removal.

Dr. Coster believes Maisy found herself in this predicament completely by accident.  “Unfortunately, we often see dogs with infections behind their eyes due to chewing on sticks or bones—or even from untreated dental disease. It’s very possible that she simply was chewing on the stick, but it’s extremely unusual to find such a large piece embedded in this location,” he said.

Dr. Coster pointed to a 2012 case in which a dog named “Jake” managed to charge head-first into the branch of a tree, lodging a stick directly into his face behind his right eye.  Jake underwent successful surgery at Angell to remove the stick.

The Jan. 27 surgery was a success and was performed without causing any further threat to Maisy’s vision.  Dr. Coster will continue to see Maisy for follow-up treatment after the surgery, and a long course of antibiotics will be required to stave off infection.

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.