Huntington Vets Save Choking Dog With Rare Technique


By Rupert Deedes

Hansel, a two year old pet Pit Bull terrier, was in trouble. Last Sunday, he was playing fetch in downtown Huntington with his owners, Kelly Skinner and her fiancée, when the ball he was fetching got stuck in his throat, choking him.

“He started turning blue,” Skinner said.


Skinner rushed Hansel to West Hills Animal Hospital in Huntington, where Dr. Kristie Williams immediately employed a rarely used technique, called “external extraction," which, she said, had recently learned from a training video.


The technique involved popping the ball out of the dog’s throat, by applying just a bit of pressure from the outside.

It was only the second time the external extraction technique was used at the location. Incredibly, the first time was only 20 minutes earlier, when a Doberman choking on a tennis ball was rushed to the hospital.


The vets at the hospital say they hope to educate dog owners about the technique. They also said dog owners should be aware that balls can lead to choking, and they recommend using larger balls when playing fetch with your pet dog.

Hansel recovered quickly - and is happily back home, looking forward to his next game of fetch - this time with a much bigger ball.