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Dog has stick lodged in chest for five years

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Porter, an eight year old Labrador retriever mix, finally has relief after living with a one-inch stick lodged in her chest for five years, according to an MSPCA press release. Dr. Mike Pavletic, a surgeon for Boston's Angell Animal Medical Center, performed a two-hour surgery on the Gloucester pup to remove the stick that plagued her since 2009.

Her owner, Andrew Campbell, has spent thousands of dollars trying to get his dog help. Porter has had multiple surgeries and procedures to try and remove the stick but to no avail. It all began when she went for a hike with her owner, ran through some brush and right into a branch. Campbell removed the stick that impaled her chest and brought her to a local veterinarian immediately.

Though the wound was treated and closed, Porter's injury flared up over the years following the incident. The wound would sometimes leak blood and fluid. Porter was in and out of the veterinarian's office. Unfortunately, regardless of what diagnostic test, treatment or surgery was performed, there were no more stick pieces discovered and Porter was still not healing.

“None of those operations ultimately helped her—and in fact she ended up getting worse,” said Campbell.

Finally in March of 2013, Porter developed a limp that got worse over time, prompting the local veterinarian to recommend Dr. Pavletic, an internationally renowned veterinary surgeon. Dr. Pavletic studied the scar tissue around Porter's injury.

“Even with advanced diagnostic imaging, such as CT scans, foreign bodies can be hard to spot because the imaging technology just doesn’t see them,” said Dr. Pavletic. “You need experience in understanding and navigating drainage tracts, which often act as a trail that can lead back to the foreign body. And frankly, as in Porter’s case, a little bit of luck always helps, too.”

Porter had a CT scan on June 4 that revealed an image of what appeared to be a flat object, similar to a stick. Surgery was performed that day and after two hours, a stick fragment was found embedded behind her second and third rib. Porter recovered from yet another surgery, except this time, she healed completely. Dr. Pavletic gave Porter an excellent long-term prognosis and expects her to continue improving.

“I’m beyond grateful to know this is finally behind us for good,” said Campbell. “Porter is back to her old self: she’s moving without pain and she’s clearly eager to get to running through the woods and swimming in the ocean.”

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