Myocardial perforation by a stick foreign body in a dog


Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Augusta Pelosi, DVM, D-208 SACS College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1314.


Objective: To report a case of myocardial perforation by a stick foreign body in a dog.

Case Summary: A 3-year-old castrated male Labrador Retriever was examined because of a puncture wound seen after an unsupervised run in the woods. The wound was suspected to penetrate into the thoracic cavity on the basis of physical exam and radiographs. Uniform ventricular premature complexes (VPCs) and junctional beats were noted on electrocardiogram (ECG). Thoracotomy was performed and a 6-cm wooden stick was seen protruding from the right ventricle through the pericardium toward the sternum. The stick was removed while purse string sutures were tied around the resultant myocardial defect. Follow-up echocardiography revealed intact intracardiac structures. VPCs were treated with lidocaine and resolved completely within 24 hours of presentation.

New or Unique Information Provided: Thoracic trauma can result in myocardial injury; penetration into the myocardium represents a life-threatening situation for the emergency clinician. Cardiac injury should be included in the differential diagnoses of penetrating thoracic foreign bodies.