The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Needle removal lets Terrier walk again

Vets at the Hospital for Small Animals used an innovative technique to remove a metal sewing needle from the neck of a Yorkshire Terrier.

Toby Jamieson - credit Alexander Jamieson
Toby Jamieson - credit Alexander Jamieson

A fortunate dog named Toby is back to full health after vets used an innovative technique to remove a metal sewing needle from his neck. The Yorkshire terrier had the 7 centimetre needle – complete with thread – removed at the Hospital for Small Animals, after a referral to our speciality teams. 

His concerned owners took Toby to their local vet after noticing that he was suffering from neck pain, struggling to walk and showing signs of seizures. The vet in Beauly, near Inverness, suspected that the 13-year-old Yorkie might have a brain tumour and took X-rays of Toby’s head. The X-ray revealed that he had a sewing needle lodged in his neck, piercing his spinal cord and dangerously close to his brain.

Toby was referred to the Hospital for Small Animals, where a CT scan was used to evaluate any major damage to Toby’s spinal cord. During surgery, they used specialist X-ray equipment to view the needle in real-time.  The innovative approach allowed the surgeons to carefully remove the object without the need for an invasive operation.

After extracting the needle, Toby recovered well and is now back walking and running normally. It is still uncertain how the needle entered his neck, but the surgeons suspect that Toby could have eaten the needle or laid his head on it.

Samantha Woods, Senior Lecturer and Jessica McCarthy, Senior Clinical Training Scholar in Small Animal Surgery at the Hospital for Small Animals at the University of Edinburgh, are delighted with Toby’s recovery.


Toby Jamieson
CT showing the needle placement

Samantha Woods said: “We are really pleased to see Toby back to full health, thanks to the combined efforts of his vets and our specialist teams here in Edinburgh.”

Toby’s owner, Alexander Jamieson, said: “We feel that without the help of the experts in Edinburgh, Toby would not be here today. The care and attention he got was out of this world and we are delighted to see him back to his old self.”



The Hospital for Small Animals