Warning to dog owners after after Labrador impaled on stick during game of fetch
A young Labrador was left with a hole in its esophagus after it impaled itself on a stick during a game of fetch - as its owners try to raise £7,000 to pay for vet bills.
Pooch Tiwha, aged two, was out with owner Peter Nicholson, 36, when the 1ft long stick they were playing with got lodged in her throat.
Music shop manager Peter heard Tiwha yelping in pain and raced to pull the stick out of mouth before taking her home to wife Katie, 26.
But Tiwha was still struggling to breath later that night and the couple - who also have Huskey Kodi, aged three - rushed Tiwha to the vets the next day.
Vets initially thought the damage was only cosmetic but further investigation revealed the stick had stabbed a 3cm hole through the Lab's esophagus.
Tiwha was referred to the Royal Dick Veterinary Hospital in Edinburgh for specialist treatment, where she is still being cared for.
The gash has now been stitched but an infection has started to spread and she is currently having to be fed through a tube.
Mum-of-one Katie, from Bo'ness, warned of the dangers of playing with sticks and encouraged dog owners not to throw them for their pets.
Katie, who works for the Postcode Lottery, said: "My husband took our Husky out first of all and then Tiwha, they were just playing fetch as usual with a stick.
"He came back to the house in pieces, crying and hugging the dog, and once he composed himself he told me what had happened.
"He threw a stick for Tiwha and it bounced in her mouth and went straight down her throat.
"She made a noise like Peter had never heard before so he ran over to her but couldn't see anything.
"Then he noticed the end of the stick poking out her mouth, this look of fear in her eyes and she couldn't breathe.
"He pulled it out but even when he got her home, she wasn't herself at all, she wouldn't have a drink or anything to eat and just seemed really sad.
"We couldn't see anything in her throat just a little cut, so we thought she had just got a fright which was why she was acting strange.
"We called the vets and they said to keep an eye on her but by the next day she still wasn't right, so we took her in.
"They referred her to the Royal Dick Veterinary Hospital because they thought it looked more serious than first thought.
"She has a 3cm gash in her esophagus and had to have an operation to stitch her throat back together.
"But now she has an infection in her chest wall which is making it hard for her to breath.
"We just want to warn people about the dangers of playing with a stick, we don't want this to happen to anyone else.
"Thousands of people play fetch with a stick, but it could potentially kill your dog and we don't want any else to have to go through this."
Local charity Lyn's small animal rehoming set up a fundraiser with nearly £2,000 already raised for the pooch after the horror accident on September 26.