Nalu, a Labrador Retriever Mix dog, came in to Craig Road Animal Hospital after a weekend camping trip with his owners. Nalu was vomiting and did not want to eat. Dr. Courtney Daniels suspected that Nalu had eaten something that he shouldn’t have, in other words, a foreign body.
According to Dr. Daniels, the symptoms that a pet has ingested foreign body can vary widely, “From nothing early on to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and pain.” Dr. Daniels continues, “Sometimes the foreign body doesn’t cause symptoms related to an obstruction, but more from the toxins leeching from the object itself. For example, an animal could eat a penny and all the owner notices at first is the dog’s gums and whites of the eyes turning yellow as a result of the toxins from the penny being absorbed.”
When the owner of Blaze, a Pitbull Terrier Mix, noticed that half of his belt missing he quickly brought him to Craig Road Animal Hospital before any symptoms could occur. With foreign bodies, the prognosis worsens when symptoms start.
To find the foreign bodies, Dr. Daniels decided to take X-Rays of both Nalu and Blaze. Radiographs (X-Rays) are a way of looking at structures inside of our pets’ bodies. After reviewing the X-Rays, foreign material was found in both patients. In Nalu, there was an intestinal blockage and a stomach full of foreign material was noted in blaze. Also known as a bowel obstruction, or blocked bowel, an intestinal blockage is often caused by a pet swallowing something they shouldn’t have.
Things like rocks aren’t something you’d normally associate with being appetizing, but for Nalu this turned out to be the case. There are several reasons why dogs would exhibit this behavior, but one of the most common ones is simply boredom. It’s also possible for dogs to be lacking certain nutrients, which can lead to them trying to find these nutrients by eating non-food items. If your dog exhibits this behavior you can try things like rotating chew toys every few days to keep your dog occupied and entertained.
The effect of a foreign body in the digestive tract can prove devastating to the body. The pressure of the foreign body against the intestinal wall can result in poor blood circulation to the tissues which can cause the necrosis (dying off) of those tissues. Eventually, the intestinal wall may break down and even perforate. Once this occurs, the contaminated intestinal contents leak into the abdomen. In addition to being extremely painful, this results in peritonitis (infection of the abdominal space) and sepsis (infection of the blood stream).
Fortunately for Nalu and Blaze, after exploratory procedures were preformed and a couple of days of hospitalization, both came out of these worrisome situations feeling happy and healthy. A week or so after the foreign bodies were removed, Nalu and Blaze returned to have their sutures taken out with Dr. Daniels. We’re happy to report both of these pups made a full recovery.