Sydney is a 2 year old, female, spayed Shepherd Mix, that presented to CARE Animal Emergency for limping on her front left limb. The owners were trying a new technique where they used a carabiner to attach her collar to a tie-out in the yard. They did not witness the event but they heard her cry out and noticed she was limping. The carabiner had become lodged in her neck and she was bleeding.
On physical exam, Sydney was very scared and painful. Her collar was still on and the carabiner was attached to both the collar and her skin. Everytime she moved her leg, or tried to walk, it caused the carabiner to pull down on her skin which was causing Sydney a lot of pain. Sedation was required to examine and ultimately, remove the carabiner. Once sedate, we were able to see that the entire curved portion of the carabiner had penetrated her skin and the latch had closed, lodging it in her neck.
The carabiner was removed and the area was clipped, cleaned and flushed throughly. Because there was a lot of movement prior to removal, a drain was placed. Chest radiographs were taken to verify no internal damage had been done and other than gas present throughout the subcutaneous tissue layer, no internal injuries were noted. Sydney's sedation was reversed and she recovered well.
Sydney was sent home with an antibiotic, pain medication, and an elizabethan collar to prevent her from chewing at the drain. All rechecks were done through her primary veterinarian.
Carabiners are used more and more in animals. Owners use them as a safety between their harness, gentle leader, or prong collar or in this manner, as a tie-out. Although they do provide a sense of security, we recommend they be used only when your pet is supervised. We are not sure how Sydney acquired this injury or how likely it could happen again, but there are risks involved in using a carabiner.