Parker’s Foreign Body Ingestion and His Devoted Owners

We’re just coming out of Easter,  and most of us probably ate stuff we probably shouldn’t have. But aside from those “My Strange Addiction” episodes, most of us haven’t been eating socks, rocks, diamond rings and other weird things. But dogs do. It’s one of those things that remind us that dogs are not just furry little humans. And it is one of those things that can get them into a lot of trouble.  

Parker is a happy, friendly, beautiful yellow Labrador retriever who came to see me because he had vomited four times the night before and was not as active or interested in food as usual. After a physical examination and because we were worried that Parker may have eaten something, we obtained some radiographs(xrays).

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When animals eat an object that they shouldn’t, we call that thing a foreign body. A lot of times, the objects will pass through or get vomited up before they leave the stomach. If something gets through the stomach and into the twists and turns of the intestines, it has a greater chance of getting stuck. When coupled with sharp edges, strings or rigidity, the danger level increases. The longer something stays lodged in the intestines, the more the inflammation, stretching and lack of oxygen lead to loss of viability and eventually rupture.

Signs of a foreign body obstruction(when it has gotten lodged and will not move) are vomiting, fever, belly pain, lethargy, lack of appetite, and infrequent stools to name a few. Unfortunately, animals may only show one sign which can make it hard to diagnose without tests such as an xray.  The tests may need to be repeated to track progress of the suspected object. Recheck exams also help us determine if the patient is feeling better, worse or the same.

Parker was given fluids and an injection of an anti-nausea medication and sent home with instructions to call us back if things were not improving. The next morning, Parker still did not want to eat. Even though the owners were at work, they took time off to drive back home to get Parker and bring him back in to stay with us for the day.  As  mentioned before, tests may need to be repeated and we decided to repeat his xrays. They looked a lot different than they had the day before and we were concerned that there could be a blockage in his intestines.  We discussed that we wanted to do an exploratory surgery. While we could not be certain that there was something blocking him up,  the owners wanted to make sure and consented to the surgery.20131227_131502

they took time off to drive back home to get Parker and bring him back in to stay with us for the day

We found that an object had been ingested part of which was in the intestines. Unfortunately, the other part was anchored in the stomach and the intestines were bunching up in between. One incision in the stomach and two incisions in the intestine were needed to remove the whole object.

His intestines were very inflamed and close to looking like they needed to have portions removed entirely, but after consulting with all doctors on hand, we decided to not remove any portions. There are many pros and cons involved with taking or leaving a segment of intestine and many factors involved when making this decision. Regardless, these patients are watched over and worried about for days, not only by their owners, but by  veterinarians and veterinary staff.

Fortunately for everyone, Parker made a complete recovery. The timeliness of his family’s decision to get him back in to us made all the difference in the world in my opinionand proves that waiting and seeing is not always the best course of action.

The timeliness of his family’s decision to get him back in to us made all the difference in the world in my opinion

A few weeks later, I saw this picture on Facebook which was posted by one of his owners, and we had a good laugh. Although I would never recommend taking advice from this doggy doctor, I think you’ll enjoy it, too!!

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