*There is a photo from the actual surgery below that may be too graphic for some viewers*
Zeke, an adorable 2 year old English Bulldog, was brought in for a check up after a few consecutive days of vomiting shortly after eating. Zeke’s petmom explained that he had been eating and drinking normally, was having normal bowel movements, and, other than the vomiting, he was acting his normal, happy self.
After a comprehensive exam by Dr. Altendorf and a set of X-rays, it was obvious that his stomach was abnormally distended. Dr Altendorf ‘s immediate thought was a possible FOREIGN BODY! It isn’t uncommon for dogs (or cats) to eat things they shouldn’t.
Foreign bodies can either be resolved fairly easily OR can be fatal if immediate surgical intervention is not available. Often times, if the item ingested is small enough, it will pass without much difficulty. A small object may cause some gastrointestinal upset and/or vomiting depending on the pet’s sensitivity. Larger objects can cause serious damage! Linear objects (i.e. string, ribbon, fishing line, etc.) present the greatest danger because they involve a much longer section of the intestines. Since intestines naturally contract and relax, there can be bunching of the intestines around a foreign body. These changes often times result in damage to the intestinal wall, usually in several places. Larger objects (i.e. pieces of rawhide, shoes, toys, etc.) can cause a blockage that prevents food from moving through the digestive tract.
Unless an obstruction is completely obvious, we usually perform what is called a Barium study. This study is a series of X-rays taken at various intervals after giving the pet an oral metallic liquid, called barium, that shows up on X-ray. Time frames between X-rays vary as well as the number of X-rays needed to determine if there is a blockage and approximately where the blockage is occurring.
Zeke’s radiographs verified he did, in fact, have an obstruction of some sort…. and a LARGE one at that! Dr. Franklin was called in and shortly after he arrived he was fishing out a very LARGE piece of “mystery material” out of the big guy’s stomach. He ended up retrieving 2 pounds of a thick fibrous material, which we later discovered was a paint drop cloth.
We are happy to say that Zeke is home making a full recovery!