Heath Veterinary Clinic in Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint is warning of the danger to dogs from carelessly discarded fish hooks — and appealing to fishing enthusiasts to dispose of their hooks responsibly.

The veterinary clinic has recently seen two cases of injury to dogs caused by fish hooks; in both cases the dogs recovered after treatment, but the outcome could have been very different.

Goober, a 3-year-old German Shepherd was walking with his owner on Ditchling Common when he stepped onto a discarded fish hook, which became embedded in his paw, causing severe pain and discomfort. Fish hooks are especially difficult to remove as they are barbed and Goober needed sedation for the hook to be removed at the clinic.

The second case involved Talby, a 10 year old Border Terrier, who went exploring on his walk and returned with a fishing line dangling from his mouth. His owners took him straight to Heath Vets, where initial X-rays showed that there was a large fish hook attached to the end of the line in his abdomen.

“Fortunately for both Goober and Talby, their owners brought them straight to the surgery and didn’t try to remove these hooks themselves. Both dogs are recovering after their ordeals and Talby’s case in particular carried extra risk as he had to undergo major abdominal surgery. It’s important to emphasise the risk that these discarded hooks pose, not only to pets, but also to humans and to wildlife. I’m sure most fishermen dispose of their hooks responsibly, but it’s important to flag up the perils that these hooks pose.”

Senior Veterinary Surgeon Emily Chadburn

With better fishing weather and summer holidays on the horizon, it’s especially important to be vigilant about clearing up litter, including hooks, as well as ensuring that every piece of equipment is taken home. Wildlife is also at risk from hooks and ingested fishing lines, which pose threats to their ability to forage, feed and escape from predators.