INCREDIBLE images show how a stick thrown for a dog penetrated almost the entire length of its body.
The Spaniel ran on to the still-moving stick with such force that it ripped through her throat and carried on through her body to near the back of her ribcage.
Only surgery, blood transfusions and treatment for sepsis – with an estimated total bill of £10,000 – saved two-year-old Ebi.
X-Ray images clearly show the track of the wound, which narrowly avoided major organs and two arteries.
The veterinary surgeon who helped save Ebi today appealed to dog owners to avoid throwing sticks for their pets – or throw them so far they have stopped moving by the time the dog catches up.
Owner Nicola Elliott, from Perth, said she threw the stick and within seconds heard a yelp. The stick which caused the horrific injury was lying next to her collapsed body.
Vets in Perth X-Rayed Ebi and were shocked by what they found. A dark line caused by air in the wound track is clearly visible starting at her throat and running almost the length of her ribcage.
She was later taken to The Royal (DICK) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh for emergency surgery where she stayed for eight days – not allowed to see her owner.
She is now back home, recovering and has a 40cm scar down her front torso as a constant reminder of the accident.
Nicola has now set up a Facebook page, Ebi’s fight against sticks, to raise awareness of the dangers of throwing sticks for dogs.
The 38-year-old said: “I had taken her for a walk and let her off her lead. She was running around and I threw a stick for her, not thinking much of it.
“She ran after it then next thing I heard a yelp and she collapsed to the ground.
“She was about 20 metres from me and went I got over to her the stick wasn’t in her it was at the side of her with blood and some white stuff on the top.
“I thought she had broken her leg at first because I couldn’t see any injuries and she couldn’t stand up.
“I picked her up and her head just collapsed so I phoned the emergency vet and said she’s hurt but didn’t know what it was.
“When we got to Tay Valley Vets in Perth and the vet, Rebecca put her on the table and looked down the back of her throat.
“That’s when we knew it went right through her throat. The vet said we need to stabilise her as she was in shock.
“By morning she was actually worse and the vet said she could have internal bleeding so she had to go to the Royal Dick School of Vets in Edinburgh.”
Nicola feared on several occasions throughout the traumatic ordeal that she was going to lose Ebi.
She said: “When I was driving to the vets in Edinburgh I stopped just after the Forth Road Bridge because I could hear Ebi making this strange breathing noise.
“I thought I was going to lose her and thought I would have to hold her paw through it.
“We got to the vets and they were waiting for me and put her on the table. She was given a blood transfusion and Jon Hall opened her up to see the damage.
“She had a 3cm by 2cm hole in her esophagus which went right past one of her arteries.
“He cleaned up her insides and for the next few days she remained quite flat, depressed.
“Her white blood count was low so we were worried she might not make it. But then we found out she had ended up with sepsis after getting an infection under her chin.
“After that they were able to give her the right antibiotics and she perked up a bit. She was in there for about eight days and in that time I wasn’t able to go in and see her as they didn’t want her getting upset.
“I’ve had dogs all my life and wouldn’t never ever think that throwing a stick could result in that happening so I’m just wanting to raise awareness for other dog owners that this can happen and to throw a ball instead.”
Dr Rebecca Manson, a veterinary surgeon at Tay Valley vets, said: “This could easily have killed her. The immediate risk is of dying from blood loss. The next risk is the inevitable infection. She nearly died of a septic infection.
“If you do throw a stick, throw it far enough so it is lying flat before the dog arrives, or into water.”
Jon Hall, Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: “Many dogs can play with sticks all their lives without incident.
“Unfortunately injuries do occur, which can be extremely serious and sometimes fatal. Even seemingly minor injuries can lead to life-threatening complications.
“Ebi was lucky that she was able to have the life-saving surgery that she urgently needed. We are pleased with her recovery so far.”