Florida Dog Impaled While Playing Fetch

BluePearl veterinarians successfully dealt with an unusual case.

Radar awaits removal of a 19-inch stick. Inset, the object after surgery.

BluePearl Veterinary Partners

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A young dog is recovering after he was accidentally impaled on a 19-inch-long stick and swiftly treated at a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Tampa, Fla.

The injury to Radar, a 1-year-old Australian cattle dog, occurred April 8 as he and his owner played a routine game of fetch in a park. The 2-inch-wide stick is believed to have stuck vertically into the ground as Radar pursued it, and then he somehow ran or fell onto it, puncturing his chest 8 inches deep.

“It was terrifying,” owner Maya Niewiadomska said. “It was one of the most terrifying things I have seen in my entire life.”

Luckily for Radar, his best friend knew what to do. Niewiadomska is studying to become a physician’s assistant, so she knew not to remove the stick, which could have caused even more damage.

Niewiadomska rushed Radar to the BluePearl specialty hospital. BluePearl Veterinary Partners operates 54 hospitals in 17 states.

Radar was placed under anesthesia, and Nick Rappa, DVM, and Michael Reems, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, performed surgery to remove the stick and close the hole.

Dr. Rappa said Radar’s rib cage prevented the stick from damaging major organs.

“Everything went extremely well,” he said of the hour-long procedure. “It was really a best-case scenario for a situation like this.”

Radar’s situation is a good reminder for all owners to be cautious when playing with pets, he said. Sticks may be sharp and dirty, which could cause deep tissue injuries and infection, he said.

Radar went home after two days and is due for a follow-up examination April 15.

Radar should not have any lasting effects from the incident, his doctors predicted.

Niewiadomska learned a valuable lesson: no more sticks for Radar.

“From now on, we’re only playing with Frisbees,” she said.

Living on a tight student budget, Radar’s owner set up a Go Fund Me crowd-funding page at to help pay for his $3,000 in veterinary expenses. Nearly $800 had been raised as of today.

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How has the rambunctious canine handed all the commotion, attention and hospital visits?

“It’s amazing,” Niewiadomska said. “He’s acting like nothing ever happened to him.”

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