Name – “Norm”
Age & Sex – 9 months old, male
Breed – Springer Spaniel
Presenting Problem – Vomiting for the past 24 hours and not eating
Examination – Norm was usually a bouncy happy dog, even when visiting the vets. Today he was looking very sorry for himself – rather than wagging his tail when entering the consulting room Norm chose to lie down, not at all his usual self. No food had been eaten for 2 days.
He had a gassy tummy and found it uncomfortable when palpated by the vet, so he was admitted to the hospital for investigation to find out what was the cause of his problem.
Investigation – Norm was put onto Intravenous fluids and given painkillers. Xrays of his abdomen were taken and a blood sample was tested to check out his liver, kidneys and pancreas. His bloods were normal but his xrays revealed abnormally gassy guts – this could be secondary to severe gastro-enteritis or a blockage of his guts. As no foreign body was visible on his xrays Norm was given supportive medication and kept hospitalised for further observation. Overnight he became brighter and did not vomit but his tummy remained uncomfortable.
The next morning his xrays were repeated – his guts were still abnormally gassy. Consent was given by Norm’s owners for exploratory surgery.
Surgery – Under a full general anaesthetic in our sterile operating room, Norm had his abdomen surgically explored. A qualified Veterinary Nurse monitored his anaesthetic whilst the Vet, assisted by another “scrubbed up” Veterinary Nurse, had a thorough examination of his stomach and guts. It did not take long to find the problem – Norm had eaten a sock, which had lodged in Norm’s stomach obstructing the flow of all food.
That however was not all! The elastic of the sock had been chewed loose and had become snagged in a plastic flower that he had also eaten!! This combination of sock elastic and flower had continued to pass through the guts until it could go no further due to the anchoring effect of the sock in the stomach. This had resulted in what is known as a “linear foreign body” with the elastic starting to cut through the gut walls – this was a serious and life threatening problem as if the gut perforated food would leak through and cause peritonitis. No wonder Norm had a sore tummy.
Soon the sock, elastic and plastic flower were removed and Norm was safely stitched up.
Recovery – Norm remained hospitalised for ongoing 24 hour care and observation. Norm received antibiotics, painkillers and more intravenous fluids. Recovery was uneventful and rapid. That evening Norm was looking brighter and even managed a small meal of a special bland diet.
After a further 48 hours Norm returned home, a much happier dog than when he arrived at the vets. He stayed on a special recovery diet for the next 10 days to give his damaged guts a chance to heal, by which point he had fully recovered.
Norm made a complete recovery and fortunately has not repeated his dietary indiscretion.
Who would have ever thought that his sore tummy was caused by an unusual snack of a chewed sock and a plastic flower!