Tennis Balls, Oh My! — A Special Safety Warning
Goldens are known to be ball fiends, some loving to chew on or carry multiple balls in
their mouths. But, this alarming story from Bev Fillmore, who works with the
Golden Retriever Rescue of Michigan (GRRoM), may give you
a few good reasons to select some different toys for your Golden kids.
"Two days ago, my three-year-old Golden, Woody, was playing with a rubber ball. With
him, one ball in his mouth is never enough. He picked up a second ball and the first one
went down his throat. He dropped the ball he had just picked up and started choking. I
knew what was wrong as soon as he did it. I ran to him, did the Heimlich Maneuver on him
and all I got out was blood and old food out of his stomach. There was blood and mucus
everywhere and the ball was still stuck. I could see it.
I tried to get my fingers around it in his throat and his tongue was turning blue,
his front legs went out from under him and I knew he was going to die. I tried to
push the ball back up by pushing upward on his throat, no way. He finally swallowed it far
enough to get air through his nose. I dragged him to the car and we headed for the vet. He
was barely breathing but conscious. The vet's office was packed but they know me because I
take so many rescued Goldens in there. I bypassed the desk and headed for the surgical
room. I told the receptionist what the problem was as I was dragging Woody by the desk.
The vet laid him on the floor and started hollering orders to the crew. They gave him
Sodium Pentathol to relax him and his throat. The vet took hold of his tongue and tried to
get the ball with forceps but it kept slipping. He finally got a good hold on it, it moved
a little and then slipped off again. That much movement cut off his air supply again and
his tongue turned blue, then black. The vet ran and got a pair of small nose, long bone
cutters and went after the ball. All the girls in the room were in tears, with me, because
Woody was dying. The vet got hold of the ball and jerked it out. When Woody took that huge
breath of air after the ball had been removed, everyone cheered. The vet tech took the
ball to the front and showed the people waiting, what could kill their dog.
Woody slowly came out of anesthesia and we went home, covered with blood and determined
not to let this happen to any one else's dog. I measured the ball that he swallowed. It
was 2¾". Not small. About the size of a tennis ball.
Please be careful what size ball and toys you give your dogs to play with. They can suck
it down their throat and be dead before you know what happened. My vet is less than ½
mile away from our home, so I was lucky. My Golden will get to have his 4th