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Tangled Choke Collar Nearly Fatal

November 14, 2009

At the end of a busy Friday, a red Porsche convertible screeched to a halt and a frantic guy came running into the animal hospital.

“Help me, you gotta help me, my dog, my dog is choking to death! I just went to pick him up at the kennel and this other dog’s stuck on his choke collar! Help me, please, he’s dying!”

“Get the bolt cutters! Who’s coming with me?” (I didn’t know the guy. I wasn’t about to go alone.)

My 6 foot tall receptionist Jeanie came running out of the kennel with the bolt cutters at the end of a 3 foot set of wooden handles. (We keep them handy for fish hook removal.)

The 2 seater convertible was a tight squeeze. Jeanie plopped into the passenger seat with me on her lap, the bolt cutters sticking up above the windshield.

The Porsche tires screeched as we sped out of the animal hospital parking lot. We lurched to a stop in front of a small square building and took the stairs to the front door three at a time.

Panting, the three of us burst through the door like bolt-cutter wielding superheroes.

I could hear dogs barking in the back.

“Where are they?” I started toward the back kennel. The workers seemed unusually calm.

“They just came apart on their own!”

The Weimaraner’s neck was slightly swollen with done red marks on his skin. The German Shepherd’s gums bled just a little.

Neither dog suffered major injuries, but one or both could easily have died!

Do not leave choker collars, pinch collars, or other dangling collars or leashes on your dog at boarding, grooming, in the dog park, or any time you are not training or walking your dog.

What to do if your dog becomes entangled:
1. Do not get bit!
2. Stabilize the dogs and slip a bolt cutter through a metal link to snap it and free the dogs.
3. Get both dogs to a veterinarian, even if they look okay. They could have vagal nerve damage, which affects cardiac function. Or they could have a tracheal tear, causes internal leaking of every breath.

Of course, disconnecting dogs entangled at the neck is dangerous and difficult. That is why preventing the accident becomes paramount.

Never, ever leave your dog alone with a metal collar in place. It’s just too dangerous.

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