This August has been a very busy month at Mosman Vet Hospital, and surprisingly we have seen a surge in the number of pups admitted to hospital for eating unusual things. Dr Chris Mather has been surprised to see TWO consults within the space of just a few weeks which needed emergency surgery to remove foreign objects that had become stuck in the poor dogs intestinal tract. The two most recent cases involved a rogue corn cob and a cooked rib bone!
Tahoe was our first case. She is a 1 year old Burnese mountain dog, and is a big gorgeous girl with a huge appetite! Tahoe came in to see us as she had gone off of her food and her owners had become a little worried. On examination she was bright and happy, but Dr Chris could feel something firm in her belly. Suspecting that Tahoe may have eaten something unusual she was admitted to hospital for some X rays.
Tahoe had a general anaesthetic to keep her nice and still and some XRays taken of her abdomen. The X-Rays amazingly showed a corn cob clearly stuck in her intestines! Have a look at the X-Ray, can you see it?
When objects like this get stuck it can be very dangerous for the dog, as food cannot pass and so often dogs will vomit and become dehydrated. The intestine around the obstruction can become damaged, and in the worst cases, the intestine can even tear which can be fatal.
Tahoe was taken straight to surgery and in a 1 hour surgery she had the offending corncob removed. She made a great recovery post-surgery and within a day was much happier and was eating again.
After a short stay in hospital she was discharged home to her very happy family. She is now doing really well and is on a strict diet which does not include corn cobs anymore 🙂
Our second case was little Macy, a 4 month old shih-tzu puppy who has oodles of energy. Macy is a typical puppy, full of life and who loves to chew on everything she can find! At home this week Macy got into the leftovers from her owners dinner and found a scrummy rib bone which she happily tucked into. Little Macy was so happy with the bones she found that she ate one whole!
Overnight Macy started to vomit and in the morning was brought in to see Dr Chris bright and early. When examining Macy Dr Chris could feel a bone in her tummy. Macy was sedated and an X ray taken to confirm the location of the bone, and Dr Chris couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw just how big the bone was that little Macy had eaten – it was almost the same size as one of her own ribs!!
The bone was stuck in Macy’s stomach, and so she too had emergency surgery to remove the offending bone. Her surgery went very well, and being a young girl she bounced back very quickly. Within a few hours of surgery she was happier and crying for cuddles again 🙂
Macy too went home after a few days in hospital with strict instructions to keep her diet to just dog food from now on, no more ribs! She is a gorgeous girl, and was very lucky.
So how can you prevent this from happening to your hungry Lab or adventurous Maltese at home?
Eating unusual things is surprisingly common in dogs, and like Macy and Tahoe we do often see it happen more commonly to young dogs as they have a much higher play drive and so are more often found chewing things or getting into mischief. Dr Rachele offers these top 5 tips to help prevent your dogs from eating things that they shouldn’t:
- Young dogs love to chew things. Like human children, puppy’s are teething up until the age of 6 months. Make sure your pup has plenty of safe toys to chew such as thick rubber Kong toys . You can make them more fun by stuffing them with treats or Kong paste (like peanut butter!) to make them more fun and tasty than eating your socks!
- Bones are a hot topic in the vet world, as they can be prone to splintering, can cause diarrhoea or constipation and can damage your pets teeth. However, most dogs LOVE bones and their owners love to feed them as treats, so if you absolutely must feed them to your pet, make sure you follow these simple rules:
- Never feed your pet cooked bones – cooked bones are more brittle and far more likely to splinter.
- If you absolutely must give your dog a bone, ensure it is a raw bone, and large enough for your pet to have to chew on – not one that he/she is likely to just swallow whole.
- If your pup likes to chew on old socks or your children’s toys, make sure you keep these things off of the floor. It really is a case of out of sight, out of mind for dogs. If they can’t see these things, then they are very unlikely to start chewing them or swallow them.
- Avoid buying cheaper or poor quality dog toys. Cheaper toys are often less well made and often don’t hold up well under the barrage of play and chewing a happy healthy dog will subject them to, and all too often broken bits will get swallowed whole. Ensure that you buy your pet good quality toys from a reputable brand such as Kong to help keep them safe.
- Replace old toys – if your dogs toys are starting to show signs of wear and tear, are becoming frayed, or pieces are falling off – replace them. It is far cheaper in the long run to buy a new toy, than pay for a surgery to remove a piece of toy if it becomes stuck in your dog’s tummy – plus your dog will love getting some new cool toys to play with!
Posted on 16 August 2011
Last updated on 11 December 2019
Tagged with: surgery